This was how he grew in spiritual strength and nobleness!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Hour of Silence" 1899)
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others!" Philippians 2:3-4
Did Paul live a depressed and dismayed life, because he was perpetually denying himself out of love for others? Not at all. The very reverse is true. This was how he grew in spiritual strength and nobleness!
The discipline prospered his own soul.
It gave him wisdom and insight.
It gave him courage and endurance.
It gave him sympathy and considerateness.
It gave him deep restfulness and glowing joy.
By it he gained inward vigor, and the glow of spiritual health, and spiritual life in its fire and force and fullness.
And this was how he won the hearts of men and women. They saw that his was a yearning tenderness for them, which made him unconcerned for his own comforts. And so others were conquered, and melted, and led willing prisoners to the Lord Jesus. He drew them by the magnetism of his love for them — and they followed on.
And this was how he learned the secret of fellowship with Jesus. "Even Christ did not please Himself" Romans 15:3. The servant Paul came very close to the Master, and the Master to the servant, just as the servant took up his cross and gloried in it as he carried it in his arms. His little lamp was lighted from the flame around the Savior's sacrifice.
So Paul lived in a noble place, because he looked perpetually not on his own interests — but on the interests of others. Let me master this truth. I shall never regret the surrender and sacrifice of my desires and interests. It is for my own good, as well as my Lord's wish and will.