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Hallelujah Anyway Faith in Action

In my last post I wrote about the apostle Paul’s “hallelujah anyway” faith in spite of the events during his first visit to the city of Philippi.

This kind of faith was a consistent theme during Paul’s ministry. Approximately five or six years after his first visit to Philippi and six years before he wrote his letter to the Philippians, Paul penned a letter to the church in Corinth. In this letter he responded to reports of divisions and disorder in the church. Paul defends his own credentials and his hallelujah anyway faith life as an Apostle to the wavering Corinthians.HallelujahAnywayTeal

What did hallelujah anyway faith look like in Paul’s life? We can see it clearly in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28.

He first tackles the false teachers who had crept into the church:

Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.

We can’t read over this too quickly, friends! Paul is saying he frequently faced the threat of death.

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. . .

Paul was beaten five different times with thirty-nine lashes from a cat of nine tails. Could you imagine the road map of scars on his back? Three times he was beaten with rods. He was stoned. He was shipwrecked three times. He spent a night and a day bobbing around out in the deep, lost! Paul was a hated man.

 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. . .

This doesn’t mean that Paul had insomnia; it meant that the pressure of his constant life struggles triggered sleepless nights.

Also, this wasn’t voluntary fasting—this was fasting from starvation.

Verse 28 says, besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Paul doesn’t allow circumstances, suffering, Satan or even the very real threat of death steal his joy, his faith, or his love for God and God’s people. Paul’s faith is a hallelujah anyway faith.

Notice Paul’s commitment to consistency. Twelve years before he writes the Philippian letter, he’s in a Philippian jail. His feet are in stocks. He’s beaten with rods for serving Jesus. God miraculously delivers he and Silas while they are singing hymns and praying. Now, twelve years later, he is writing a letter to the very people in whose prison he sat. Now he is writing them, encouraging them follow my example.

How do we follow Paul’s example? Worship and never stop. Don’t become bitter. Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Meditate on these things—things that are true and holy and noble and just. Fight the mind wars—guard your thoughts in the midst of these difficult, perilous times.

His commitment to consistency is unreal and supernatural.

So, beloved, are you on a path of spiritual maturity and committed to hallelujah anyway faith no matter the circumstances? The challenges? The world’s view? Paul lived a surrendered life—a life totally surrendered to God no matter the cost. I strongly encourage you to follow his example and have a hallelujah anyway faith so when trouble comes, in any form, you will be ready.

 

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