The Acts of Disciples
They are Persistent
Scripture Reading: Acts 14:1-7
Key Verse: Acts 14:2
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
Paul and Barnabas were certainly encouraged greatly at the first response to their message of Christ: “a great number of Jews and Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1). God does this kind of encouragement for all His children.
For me, it always seems that just as I want to give up, God encourages me and that lifts my spirits and keeps me going.
However, we cannot always live on that “mountain top” because there are low days when we must be persistent and keep moving forward. Undoubtedly, this was the case when Paul and Barnabas heard that many of the Jews and Greeks who did not believe decided to stir up trouble. These troublemakers were so successful that “The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles” (Acts 14:4). What did the Apostles do, when they heard of all this dissention? Look at Acts 14:3:
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.
When the opposition heated up, Paul and Barnabas dug in and stayed a “considerable time” in this town.
Just because we get resistance or encounter problems does not mean we are not doing what God wants us to do. We may not see any results but God rewards those that are faithful to the task. God’s people have always had to call upon their spirit of persistence to keep their faith and stay at the task they feel God has given them.
Jesus warns us that there is coming a time when life as a Christ-follower will not be easy:
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.” (Matthew 24:9-10).
We had better practice being faithful and persistent, so when these days come, we will not be part of the crowd that turns away from the faith.
What does “persistence” look like in a Christ-followers life? First, it will be fighting through days when we do not really want to read the Bible or pray. Second, it will be getting back up when we fail the Lord (and we all will fail the Lord at times). Third, there will be times of suffering and we must stay strong in our faith in the goodness of God.
Persistence will be a key word in the coming last days of the age. May God help us all to practice persistence in our walk with Him.
Father, when Jesus returns, may He find me faithful and persistent in my faith. Grant me Your wisdom and strength each day. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.