POV: You’re Apostle Paul

by | Feb 21, 2023 | Life Advice

You and me?

We have work to do.

You—meaning, a follower of Jesus who has experienced the goodness of God yourself.

Me—meaning, your fellow sister in Christ, who believes with all her heart that only in Him, a free life is possible.

Whether we realize it or not, every person in pain is longing for what our Savior has to offer. Those who are hurting, those who are hopeless—they need to know that there’s a way out.

And, it’s up to us to let them know that there is a way—The Way.

His Name is Jesus.

And, if there’s anybody who knows the importance of spreading the gospel to all people, even if it means taking the gospel to some unlikely, controversial places, it’s the man I’m featuring for today’s post. This man didn’t just know the world needed the gospel, but he did something about it, presenting it to those who were typically excluded from it.

You know him.

You love him.

He’s probably the writer of one of your favorite verses.

You guessed it!

Today, we’re talking about Apostle Paul.

Not only that, but we’re going to take a look at his ministry from his point of view.

After all, his story is incredible. The minute Jesus called Paul to ministry in Acts 9:15, the Lord made it very clear that Paul wasn’t just meant to preach to the Israelites—God’s chosen people. No. Paul was also called to preach to—brace yourselves—the Gentiles.

Let me tell you why this is so significant.

The Israelites often viewed the Gentiles as the outsiders, enemies, those unworthy of the grace of God. And, the worst part is that they felt they had biblical reasons to justify their viewpoint. When God made a covenant promise with Abraham in Genesis 15, promising Abraham that his descendants were going to be as many as the stars in the sky, we see later on in Scripture that God called these descendants Israelites. Not Gentiles.

Get the picture?

In other words, the Israelites lorded their covenant promise over those who weren’t descendants of Abraham. They overlooked Gentiles, excluded them, outcasted them, shunned them—

—so when Paul came on the scene with a clear call to minister to Gentiles, the Israelites were terribly upset.

But, that didn’t bother Apostle Paul. No way! In fact, he was way too bothered by the fact that the Gentiles were out there giving their lives to gods who didn’t even have ears to hear them with when they could be praying to the God who not only hears them, but talks back too! And, it upset him in such a way that he did something about it—going above and beyond any other apostle, letting the Gentiles in on the greatest love story of all.

And, boy did he pay the price for it.

Because of Paul’s pursuit of the Gentiles, he was misunderstood, mocked, whipped, beaten, stoned, persecuted, and unjustly imprisoned many times. In fact, much of his life was spent in chains for the sole purpose of preaching the gospel. And, thankfully, we don’t have to be uninformed about what life was like for Paul in prison. The Bible gives us an exclusive, inside-look of what prison life was like through the readings of many of his letters—his most famous one being addressed to the Philippian church.

It’s ironic, if you study it. He wrote the book of Philippians in chains for preaching the gospel, and yet scholars call Philippians ‘the happiest book in the Bible.’


Well, let’s take a look inside!

You can’t get past the first chapter of Philippians without feeling like you’re reading a gooey, sappy love letter. Read it for yourself! The whole first chapter is littered with “I love you’s” and “I’m praying for you’s” and “I thank God for you all the time’s.”

Which makes no sense at all.

I don’t know about you, but if I was in prison for an unjust reason and the guard allowed me one five-minute phone call to my church family—

Let’s just say I wouldn’t be reminding them about how much I love and long for them with the tender compassion of Jesus Christ, as Paul wrote in Philippians 1:8. You kiddin’ me? My phone call would instead sound more like:

“Get me out of here!”

“Start a GoFundMe, so you can bail me out!”

I would tell my church family to get #FreeYana trending on Twitter!

Be honest!

Wouldn’t you?

Because you didn’t do anything wrong! You were simply bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost, to those society (and, even the church!) might’ve overlooked. You don’t have reason to be in jail. You deserve justice!

But, Paul? That wasn’t what he expressed to the church at Philippi.

Instead of trying to work out a plan to break out of his prison cell at midnight, he instead commanded them to not be anxious about anything, to pray and petition with thanksgiving, as written in Philippians 4:6.

He wasn’t worried about them coming to bail him out. No, Paul was more worried about their thought life. He told them in Philippians 4:8 to fix their thoughts on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. That was his instruction.

He wasn’t wallowing in self-pity, going into detail about how unfair it was that he was in there and something oughta be done. Nope! Paul said he can do anything through Christ who gives him strength, whether he was chained or free. He didn’t mention his need for anything either. He assured them that God was going to supply all of his needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

I mean, HUH?!

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

How is it that Paul could be wrongly imprisoned, persecuted, misunderstood by his own brothers and sisters in Christ and still…have joy?

Well, I’m writing this post today to tell you the answer—the secret sauce to Paul’s perfect peace.

You ready to find out what it is?

Here it goes…

His perspective.

Paul had the right perspective.

And, if you read Philippians 3:12-14, you’ll find out what that perspective was, that his eyes were fixed on one prize and one prize only:

Jesus Christ.

And, because Jesus Himself was the only perspective Paul had, he was able to endure every trial, tribulation, and obstacle he faced as he spread the gospel. And, it was his perspective that made every problem worth it.

Dr. Matthew Stevenson puts it this way:

The problem isn’t always the problem. Instead, the problem is your perspective of the problem.

And, when you run into problems spreading the gospel, a poor perspective is the last thing you need. In fact, the wrong perspective will keep you from enduring, from pressing on towards the prize, as Paul said in Philippians 3.

Therefore, if we’re going to do what Paul did, something we’re all called to do anyway—bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, not just the ones who look like us, think like us, talk like us, but all people—then we must have the perspective that Paul had.

That perspective being Jesus—only Jesus.

And, if Paul was willing to endure chains, persecution, and being misunderstood for the sole purpose of spreading the good news, with the right perspective, we can, too.

At twenty-two years old, Ayana is an author, a blogger, and the host of “To Be Heard” Podcast. In 2018, she self-published her first novel, titled, How I Fell in Love with Myself, and self-published her second novel, titled, My Name is Anxiety in 2022. She is a former English & Journalism major with a previous education in writing from a program based in New York. As she continues to pursue a career in writing, she aims to bring relevant messages of faith, redemption, hope & self esteem to you & others around the world.

Follow Ayana on Instagram @ayanasymone

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