Wherever Paul went, people talked about him. His actions seemed quite extraordinary to them. He was clearly an intelligent man who had studied much*.
He could have become rich and important. Instead, he freely chose to suffer the loss of all things* so that he could declare the message about Christ. That message seemed very strange to most of the people who heard it. They considered it weak and foolish*. However, because of that message, Paul was constantly putting himself in danger.
There were two main opinions about Paul, and they were opposites. Some people argued that Paul had lost control of his mind. His actions were the wild and foolish actions of a mad man, they said. Other people argued that Paul was controlling himself too much. Because of his religion and strict discipline, he was behaving like a slave to his own ideas.
Paul was not afraid of either opinion, although neither of them was correct. It did not matter if people considered Paul mad. People had thought King David foolish when he danced to give honour to God*. If God received honour, Paul was happy for people to consider him a fool.
Paul did not worry about people who had the opposite opinion, either. It was true that he had made himself like a slave*. However, people were wrong about the reason. He did not do it because his religion was too strict. He did it because he cared about other people*. He wanted to help them, so that they too could benefit from Christís death for them.
It was the love of Christ that, in fact, controlled Paulís actions*. Christ had both shown great love to Paul, and had given Paul great love for other people. That was the real explanation of why Paul acted in that extraordinary manner.
Next part: The love of Christ changes us (5:14)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.