The godly apostle Paul was full of the Holy Spirit and revelation knowledge. He prayed fervently and walked daily in intimate communion with Jesus. Yet he admitted he was continually buffeted, defamed, despised and reviled. He was gossiped about, his character was attacked, and his name was reproached.

Paul suffered so much so often, even his spiritual children wondered why he constantly faced trouble and persecution. Every time they saw him, his face was bruised, his bones were broken, or his body was covered with marks. Of course, this hurt Paul deeply. Here was a powerful, sincere preacher of God's grace and deliverance and everywhere he turned, he was reviled and defamed.

The apostle said he had one friend left, Onesiphorus, who “was not ashamed of my chain [bonds]” (2 Timothy 1:16). Paul said of his friend, “This man is not ashamed of my imprisonment. He knows better than to think there's some hidden sin in my life!”

Paul also said he was encouraged by a group of believers who “had compassion of me in my bonds” (Hebrews 10:34). He was saying, “These people feel what I'm feeling.” They stood by Paul in his trials because they themselves had been “made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions . . . whilst ye became companions of them that were so used” (verse 33). These believers had become the apostle's “companions in afflictions” because the same thing that was happening to Paul had happened to them!

I know a deeply spiritual minister who endured years of satanic buffeting and persecution from other believers. Every time I saw him, he asked me to pray for him about his troubles. I gladly complied but over time, as his trials persisted, I grew bothered. Finally, I asked him point-blank: “I don't understand why you're always so harassed. You're one of the godliest pastors I know. You're intimate with the Lord, always in prayer, continually studying His Word. Why would He allow you to face such constant trouble?”

But now I understand that this godly minister was handed over to death situations daily because he was full of resurrection life. God wanted to use him in a mighty way so He kept handing him over to death in every area of his life. God wanted nothing to remain that would hinder the beautiful manifestation of Christ in him.

Satan was set on destroying Paul because he knew a great manifestation of Christ was about to shine forth in his life!