December 14 (Daily reading: Acts 27-28) Paul wrote: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). His intimate relationship with Christ allowed him to make such a bold statement. This is illustrated in Acts 27. Paul was on a ship headed for Rome when the ship ran into a bad storm. Despite all efforts to save the ship, it was obvious that it was sinking. Then Paul told his shipmates that an angel “of the God to whom I belong” had appeared to him. The angel assured him that he would “stand before Caesar.” The ship would be lost, but all aboard would be saved. Paul told them: “Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told” (vv. 22-25). He had received a word from the Lord, and he believed it! Paul had a relationship with Christ that allowed him to hear God’s voice. Therefore, he could write: “I urge you to imitate me (because of) my way of life in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 4:16-17). Our confidence before the Lord is relative to our relationship with Him, determined by the amount of time we spend with Him!
This same confidence allowed him to be a witness in Rome, even though he was wearing a chain while under house arrest. Some Jewish leaders visited him, and he told them: “I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” At a set time, “they came to him at his lodging in large numbers.” With boldness, “he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus” (28:20-23). Paul gave us yet another example of how God can use our difficult circumstances to bring glory to Himself!
– Al Gary