The apostle Paul had an anchor on which to hold in order to stay true to the Lord and his values. This is evidenced by his faithfulness to God in the face of monumental changes that occurred in Paul’s life. Paul was well-educated, disciplined and determined. He was zealous in his endeavors, so he was not a man you could accuse of being lazy. Despite the accolades and respect he had early in life, it all changed when Paul met and followed Jesus. Instead of respect, he was hunted. Instead of love, he endured hate. All that Paul accomplished was discarded in the eyes of many because of his decision to follow Jesus.
What helped Paul stay loyal to the Lord despite such drastic changes? Paul held on to the reality of the resurrection. He told Felix, “I have the same hope in God as these people themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and all people (Acts 24:15-16, TNIV).” In order for Paul to live the life he did, it could not be based on his education, his job or any of his other accomplishments. All of those things were not eternal and could disappear in the blink of an eye. He needed something sure upon which to build his life. Paul was certain of the resurrection when everything else fell apart. It was the reality of the resurrection that motivated him to live life with character and integrity.
You will likely experience several unexpected changes in your life. Plans will fail, and disappointments will occur. What will you do when your plans for school do not happen? How will you respond when you lose thee job you thought you would have for the rest of your life? How will you move on in life when the one person you thought you would have longer in life is taken away from you far too soon? What will help you stay true to your values, to the life God called you to live? How do you manage that when everything may seem to fall apart?
You can still stay true to the Lord if your character is not rooted in what happens in this life. There is more to you than what transpires this side of death. Live your life with integrity regardless of any changes you experience. Don’t live an outstanding life only when it seems easy. Do not base your decision to follow Jesus if you think life will only be easy because of it. Be committed to living rightly because that is what matters on both sides of death. Paul knew that, lived by that and encouraged others to do the same. No matter where you are right now, live by the certainty that life goes on after death. That will never change, so live by the reality. When you live by that certainty, you will live a life of character and love worthy of respect regardless of how things change.