I find the progression of Paul’s natural and spiritual maturity interesting. From his first and early ministry letter to the Galatians until writing to Timothy as his life and ministry were drawing to a close – Paul grew in humility and patience.
Galatians 2:5-7 (AD 49-55):
“But we did not yield in submission to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the Gospel might remain with you. But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.”
1 Corinthians 15:8-9 (AD 56):
“And last of all, as it were to one untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (Wow! What a change of direction and heart condition in just one year!)
Ephesians 3:8 (AD 60-61)
“To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (AD 64):
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me because he considered me faithful putting me into service even though I was formally a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet, I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
My hope and prayer is that my spiritual and emotional progression would be more like Paul’s has he turned his focus from himself to grow in patience and humility which is the seedbed of genuinely meeting the needs of others.
Paul continues in verse 15 which is the wisdom gained through the fruit of humility:
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” 1 Timothy 1:15.
Maybe, just maybe, a bit more humility and a lot less arrogance would mend much of today’s tattered social fabric?