Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Did the apostle Paul have something wrong with his emotional makeup that he was so obsessed with his weakness and unworthiness? He said he was "the chief of sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15), "less than the least of all sinners" (Eph. 3:8), "one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15:8), "not worthy to be called an apostle" (vs. 9), etc.
Then he added that the weaker and more unworthy he saw himself in his own eyes the more the Lord was able to use him in helping others (vs. 10). Even though he was less than the least of all saints, yet the Lord had granted to him a most unusual measure of the grace of God, that his preaching to the Gentiles should be so blessed by the Holy Spirit with power (2:12, 13).
What should we think about ourselves? Psychologists tell us to think big: if we think lowly thoughts about ourselves then automatically people will think lowly thoughts about us. The popular idea is that we should assert ourselves. That's the world's way of thinking.
But when the Son of God became a man, the Savior of the world, He gave up His equality with God, made Himself of "no reputation," that is, humbled Himself, took on Himself the role of a servant (slave, Greek), was made in the likeness of lowly man, not Superman, and even further humbled Himself, and did something no other human in all the thousands of years of human history has ever done--He became "obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:5-8). But He didn't stop there. He found that there is a notch down lower than "death." Terrible as that is: "even the death of the cross," that involved "the curse of God" and of the universe (Deut. 21:22, 23).
That grabbed Paul's attention, obsessed him, charmed him forever; he could do nothing else than "glory in the cross" (Gal. 6:14). He felt he had no choice but to "live henceforth not unto" self, but unto the One who went to hell and died his second death for him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14, 15). Paul was mentally healthy!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 1, 2007.
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