#1305 – Pre-Requisite

Good morning people who are committed to Christ,

Acts 14:19-22 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

We’ve mentioned this before, but it warrants repeating: persecution and suffering will be part of a Christian’s life.

Too often we focus a lot of our energy on getting out of difficult times and into easier times.

Paul had just been stoned to within an inch of his life – they thought he was dead. Now that’s severe persecution. And yet he continues preaching the good news! Paul did not allow his suffering to negatively affect his heart and perspective.  In fact, he encouraged others to remain true to the faith, yes even through the persecution and suffering that is inevitable.

I believe Paul went a step further and said that going through hardships is a pre-requisite for entering the kingdom of God. This is worth thinking about today, because our belief of suffering and persecution will affect our lives greatly. If I think through the great men and women of faith in the Bible, not one of them was without serious challenges – Old or New Testament.

So why should we think it will be different for us? There will be challenges, but there will never be a challenge that is not God-filtered for a submitted Believer. This is what gives me confidence to live life well and to not give up. Ultimately, God, not man, is sovereign in my life!

I encourage you to read this passage again – there is a lot to think about here.