Romans 15:17 NiRV "Because I belong to Christ Jesus, I can take pride in my work for God."
ESV - 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God.
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To me, the primary characteristic of being a servant is the subordination of your own will and desires to those of the one whom you are serving. Paul (who had received elite religious schooling as a Pharisee, and who subsequently, based on the orientation received from that schooling, persecuted Christians) completely re-ordered His understanding of who God was, and of his relationship to Him, as a result of his encounter with the glorified Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-25). This required him to eliminate the personal pride that he took in his background (as he himself described in Philippians 3:4-6, and which was similar to the attitude of the Pharisee in Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14)). So devoted was Paul to this effort, that he subsequently acknowledged that he was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and not worthy to be called an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:9). He also further demonstrated his devotion to serving Christ by his willingness to undergo the hardships that he had to endure in connection with his missionary work (as Paul also enumerated in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28), even to the point of eventual martyrdom (although his death is not specifically recorded in the Bible).
Paul is spoken of as a servant in the following ways: A servant of God (2 Corinthians 6:4) A servant of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:1) A servant of the gospel (Colossians 1:23) A servant of the church (Colossians 1:24-25)
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