In Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.
A person of significance relies on supernatural power. Paul said in Romans 15:17, “In Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.” Today, we think, “Paul, you are not supposed to boast.” We think it is spiritual to think lowly of ourselves. But Paul said, “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed” (15:18). He was saying, “My boasting is not in the things I have done. It is in what Christ has done through me.”
Paul went on to say, “In the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (15:19). That is 1,400 miles of expanse. Paul was saying, “As I look back in my life, it has been exciting to see what Christ has done through me.” Let me ask you: As you look back over your life, are there specific instances when you can say, “God used me. I can see God supernaturally using my life to affect other people”? Can you look back and point to the names of people who are going to be in Heaven because of your witness? Can you think of people who would say, “I was drawn closer to God because of you and your words of encouragement”? Are you able to look back and say, “There are specific ministries that have been started by me or through my faithful giving”? God wants us to be able to look back on our lives with satisfaction and see how He worked through us in supernatural power.
In verse 19, Paul said the foundation of his ministry was the gospel of Christ proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit: “In the power of the Spirit … I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Do you want to know the secret of Paul’s effectiveness? His life and his ministry were based on the Word of God proclaimed in the power of the Spirit of God. That was the basis of his effectiveness in life.
I think too many churches today have lost confidence in the power of the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God. In many large churches, the pastor never opens the Bible. His messages are just one story after another, usually about himself, stitched together with a Bible verse or two. Why doesn’t he open the Bible? He and the church have lost their confidence in the power of the Word of God empowered by the Spirit of God. They think, “If we teach the Bible, then nobody will come. We cannot build a large church just teaching the Bible.” That may or may not be true, but the goal of our ministry is not large crowds; it is changed lives.
As 1 Peter 1:23 says, “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” The only thing that is going to change a person’s life is the Word of God implanted in his or her life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Life Well Spent” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.