Have you ever been so consumed by something that you are not even aware that someone is speaking to you? Most of us have. It’s an intense level of focus that literally tunes out distractions. It happens when something complete occupies our brain and all of our attention. This is the level of focus Paul had in his ministry.
Corinth is the first city where Paul ends up staying for an extended amount of time. Luke tells us in Acts 18 how intense Paul was in his focus. The New Living Translation says “Paul spent all his time preaching the word” (Acts 18:5b). The New International Version says “Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching” but the English Standard Version says “Paul was occupied with the word.” It’s the ESV wording that really speaks to the level of intensity. By allowing himself to be “occupied”, Paul shuts out the distractions.
It was also this level of intensity that allowed Paul to have such a success in this very dark town. “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.” (v 8) Prior to this we see that the Jews so opposed Paul in Corinth that this is the first time he actually shows a sign of giving up on them. “And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.'” (v 6) However with Paul being so occupied by the word and having such success, Jesus gives him hope in the middle of his despair. “And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.'” (v 9-10)
Paul’s preoccupation with the Word and delivering the Gospel message paid its dividends. The ruler of the synagogue and his whole household were now believers… and in the moment of doubt and frustration, the Spirit of the Lord comforted Paul.
When was the last time you were totally occupied by the Word. So intense in reading and studying that you are oblivious to the outside world for a time. Shutting off those distractions and allowing the Word to totally consume you is an amazing and powerful feeling. The Word washes over you and feel His presence in a powerful way.
I realize we all have busy lives. We pray on the fly, or driving down the road. We have short conversations in passing and spend less time than we should with Him. But once in a while, I pray that you would shut out the world, even for a few minutes and become totally occupied by the Word.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.