What a remarkable man Paul was. From being the foremost persecutor of the believers until he was struck blind – and heard the voice of Jesus challenging him as he neared Damascus – he was turned around to be the very opposite! His statements (Acts 9 v.4; 22 v8-10) show the drama of this!
He had already done what he was urging the Corinthians (and us) to do. It is evident Paul at first went through an intense learning period to embrace in his mind the whole gospel. The teaching of Christ that “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” [Luke 12 v.48] was impressed on his mind. We read today, in 2 Corinthians 10 how he appealed to the example he had set them (and us) that “we destroy arguments and every lofty opinionraised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” [v.5]
Although the circumstances are different Gods’ call for commitment by Ezekiel has similarities. We read today how God tells him, “”Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked … that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” [3 v.17,18] Do we sense the degree of responsibility for us today in this “whenever we read’ – and opportunities follow?
Back to Paul’s words. We see how totally committed he had become, and, as a result, he is more aware how the Corinthians “measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another” and as a result “they are without understanding” [v.12] This is what the Pharisees did!
We must constantly measure our thoughts, words and actions by the word of God. The divine word, so readily available to us, must be absorbed by us more and more. If we fail to do this, we will find, as Paul warns the Corinthians that, “(y)our thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” [11 v.3] When we “take every thought captive to obey Christ” and develop this spirit of “sincere and pure devotion” – then we will have more and more spiritual strength to follow ever more closely in the footsteps of both Ezekiel and Paul.