Paul, like Abram and Sarai, and the psalmists we have read about earlier this week, knew trouble. Although he was a firm believer in and a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, and although he was, in modern parlance, which I find particularly distasteful, a “Spirit-filled” believer, things didn’t go well for him. (All disciples of Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit, by the way, not just those who claim mighty deeds.) He was stoned, thrown out of places of worship, and imprisoned. And he had the gall to invite the Philippians to join him.
I remember a woman who sat across from me at a church potluck, who informed me rather unctuously, that she had heard to the “real” gospel before she came to church that morning, the real gospel being a TV evangelist who preached a version of Christianity that promised success and blessing. (A TV evangelist who a few years later was disgraced by having a bit too much success with the ladies!)
Paul preached blessing, too: the blessing of suffering as Jesus suffered; the blessing of serving as Jesus served; but also the blessing of living in Jesus’ presence, now and forever. Now that is blessedness.
Lord God, help me find the blessedness that comes in following Jesus. Amen. — DAB