Day 2

Paul’s Testimony

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

1 Timothy 1:12-20, Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-22

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-20, Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-22

I never wanted to join the circus. And yet, here I am, breathlessly perched on the tightrope of terrified obedience. It’s that narrow road we’re called to walk as followers of Christ. The stakes get higher when our faith in Christ compels us to go and to do, to serve and to minister, knowing we don’t have what it takes to do so on our own.

As we read Paul’s words in 1 Timothy, we can squint our eyes and see him walking on the tightrope ahead of us. As he describes his qualifications for ministry, it’s clear Paul knows how unqualified he truly is.

It was Paul, after all, who approved the persecution of Stephen. That event was the spark that ignited a raging fire of persecution among God’s people. While the Church wept and wailed, “Saul… was ravaging the church. He would enter house after house, drag off men and women, and put them in prison” (Acts 8:3).

Put that on your Bible college application.  

Based on Saul’s resume, there’s not a single one of us who would pick him to teach the gospel, encourage the saints, plant churches, spearhead missionary journeys, and appoint church leaders. And yet, God Himself described Saul (a.k.a. Paul) as His “chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15).

This is the seemingly upside down way of our sovereign God. He never calls us into kingdom work because we are the most fit, the most prepared, the most gifted, or the most popular. He doesn’t ask us to do things that we could easily do in our own strength and power.

Instead, He invites us out onto that tightrope where we know we aren’t qualified, where we must trust His Spirit for every step. A life of ministry and obedience can feel scary because we know we cannot grit our teeth and do what is required on our own. We aren’t capable of reaching a lost and dying world or serving selflessly in our own strength. We can’t generate enough elbow grease to produce faithfulness on our own. Our resumés are just good kindling in God’s economy.

That reality can paralyze us. And yet, when human eyes only saw Saul’s failures, God looked at him and saw future faithfulness:

“I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12).

While we tend to evaluate our qualifications based on what we see in the rearview mirror, only God is able to see our forward faithfulness. In His sovereignty, He knew that Saul was too weak and sinful to surrender and serve, but He also saw the coming tsunami of grace that would sweep Saul away from his rebellion.

The next time you look at the ways God calls you to live, love, and serve, thinking “I can’t do this,” know that you’re right. We can’t walk the narrow road on our own. May the gospel steady our feet as with eyes on Jesus we dare to take the next step toward future faithfulness.


Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (131)

131 thoughts on "Paul’s Testimony"

  1. Amy Beth says:

    Such a needed reminder for me to continue to write and share about my faith no matter how often it feels like talking to a wall or shouting into the void, God equips the called for works planned in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10), all I have to do is show up and remain willing.

  2. Kadie Henderson says:

    “While we tend to evaluate our qualifications based on what we see in the rearview mirror, only God is able to see our forward faithfulness.” SO comforting! <3 God's dreams for me are bigger than the dreams I have for myself. I tend to forget that way to often, and instead of walking in God's will for my life I go in my own direction… Thank goodness is grace and love and mercy and strength is more than enough. Lord, may I walk in Your will for my life. What are YOUR dreams for my life? And may I be the wife my husband needs and the mama my baby needs with a grateful and joyful heart. I've learned over the past year that I am not qualified to be either – but with You I can do all things. May I walk forward in faithfulness, knowing full well that you are more than enough in all things.

  3. Emily McGhee says:

    It is so good to be encouraged to move out of our comfort zone, so we can be lead by the Holy Spirit ❤️

  4. Jen Co says:

    This is so great. We try to lean on our own understanding when Gods ways are higher, greater, and more perfect than we could ever imagine. Praise Him.

  5. Amber Underwood says:

    This spoke to me completely. As I re-new my walk with God, I have a new fire for Him and I want to please Him by serving. Even when I feel like I am unqualified in my eyes, He is always there to provide. Great message!

    1. EV Monroe says:

      This is how I feel today, as well.

  6. Ruby says:

    I’m reminded of where God rescued me out of and had put into His marvelous light!!! Is it always a sweet and easy ride? No! But counting it all JOY in all situations it says in James, or anything is possible through Christ says in Phillippians. Remembering that God will use every situations for His glory. Thank you LORD for choosing us regardless of our merits or status we came from, please continue to use us as the instrument needed to continue to push back the darkness in the world!!!

  7. Barbie Hahn says:

    I can get over “chosen instrument.” We’re chosen, instrumental – Purposeful. Blowing me away. Those two words, “chosen instrument.”

  8. Maryanne Njoroge says:

    This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
    ‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:6‬

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