By Rod Shimabukuro
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:12-14
Paul’s words and experience reminds me of 1 John 4:19. “We love because he first loved us.” Using our series theme, this passage could read “We can make our mark, because He marked us first…with His mercy.” Paul was certainly marked by God, making a mark on Timothy and the church – to advance God’s Kingdom, through the Gospel!
This is what Paul acknowledges in verses 12-14:
- Jesus gives him strength.
- He judges him faithful.
- He appointed Paul to service.
- He gave Paul mercy, and an overflowing grace.
- Paul acquires Jesus faith and love.
I would say Paul has been marked by God, with great mercy even as an ignorant, unbelieving blasphemer, persecutor and proud, disrespectful opponent of God and His Kingdom.
In no way can I measure my past with Paul’s. But God knows I followed similar anti-Christ traits and actions. Like Paul, I’m sooooooooo grateful to be marked by God’s mercy through Jesus! What Paul records in verses 12-14 are expressions of deep worship in my heart.
The mercy, forgiving grace and faithful, overflowing grace – for God to save me, call me, use me – is a testimony of His marking mercy on my life.
I’m being called to action – to obey God by sharing my testimony. Not to just say “how bad I was…” But how great He is and how gracious and faithful He wants to be in the lives of my unsaved friends, family and community.
MARKED BY MERCY, TO MAKE A MARK…
God is stirring me to make a mark on every valuable person He places in front of me! Friend, stranger, church visitor or member. The mark of mercy is what I’d like to show and live out. Mercy calls me to love give, share, care…for other’s as Jesus lived. No matter who they are, I’m called to make this mark… OF MERCY! Oh Jesus…! I need help!
Personal Prayer, worship, Bible meditation and study are spiritual acts of worship I want to grow in. I must, I must, I must…commit my heart, life…schedule – to these areas!
I want to be like Paul – investing in “Timothy’s.” Preaching to the crowds, masses -can be exhilarating – even self fulfilling. O God, I repent for wanting to grow the church – and not grow people! I know He’s given me a heart and calling to MAKE A MARK BY MAKING DISCIPLES!
O God of mercy! I believe, like Paul, I want to accept my weaknesses – that Your strength is perfected in me. That I become more adequate in You, than in myself. That I would live out this mercy…because You exampled, empowered, equipped me to encounter and experience YOUR MERCY!
Thank YOU for marking me with Your mercy! Now please help me to obey you, showing Your mercy to the people You place in front of me! I LOVE YOU!!!