Devotional

“My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. I have been following the plan spoken of in the Scriptures, where it says, “Those who have never been told about him will see, and those who have never heard of him will understand.” – Romans 15:20-21.  

We all need some kind of ambition in our lives. Paul’s ambition was laid out clearly in the Romans passage above. That ambition included visiting Rome: “One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.” (Romans 1:10) Clearly, Paul had his heart set on visiting Rome. It was certainly not to see the Sistine Chapel or throw coins in Trevi Fountain as we do today. He wanted to fellowship with the believers at Rome and help build them up in the Christian faith (Romans 1:11-12)  and to preach the gospel to Rome (vs, 14-15). But his godly plans were prevented. We see that it’s not only Paul’s desire, but God’s will, that he go to Rome : “That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, “Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.” (Acts 23:11) But that doesn’t mean a straight direct easy journey to Rome. In fact, it was anything but easy. 

Paul did eventually get to Rome…as a prisoner. Hardly the way he planned to arrive in Rome. For two years he was chained to a Roman guard under house arrest in Rome while he waited for his case to be decided. A logical question would be why. What good could come out of more obstacles, more delays and more disruption of God’s work? In Philippians 1:12-­14, we are told one of the reasons: “…everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News.  For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.” Because of Paul’s predicament, the gospel made its way into the ranks of the imperial Roman guards. Through this conduit, who knows how many people were reached in Rome.

And let’s not forget that the apostle Paul wrote four New Testament books during his imprisonment in Rome. We can be eternally grateful that God changed Paul’s plans for travel to His plans for writing the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.  

Perspective could be defined as our perception of things based upon our angle of view. Our perspective can determine both our outlook and outcome in life. Paul kept his perspective and his faith in God’s promises. So whatever the storm of life, or mountain that stands in your way, put your trust in God and let him change your perspective. You will see life in a whole new way and never be afraid of the storm again.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does our perspective change the way we view things? 
  2. What can we do this week to have more of a biblical perspective?