What Will You Do?
“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” – Jeremiah 1:19
Adversity comes to us all. No one is immune.
The question is what will we do when it happens?
In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas have just been kicked out of Antioch of Psidia. They have gone to Iconium to get away and the first thing we find them doing is retreating to natural rhythms of their faith. They go to the synagogue. Yet, for these two apostles, the natural rhythms of life, even religious life, have taken on new meaning:
“Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.” – Acts 14:1
They used the opportunity of their normal Jewish worship in the synagogue to share the Gospel of Jesus in a POWERFUL and PUBLIC way. We know it was both powerful and public because Scripture tells us that a GREAT NUMBER of both Jews and Greeks believed.
So much so, in fact, that persecution and adversity rose up almost as immediately as their ministry in Iconium had begun.
Look at verse 2:
“But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.” – Acts 14:2
This is always the response of the enemy to the Gospel going forward. There is nothing Satan hates more than people entering into relationship with Jesus. Let us not be surprised, therefore, when we face adversity, especially when seeking to bring the lost to Christ!
YET WHAT WAS THE APOSTLES’ RESPONSE…
“SO they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” – Acts 14:3
SO THEY REMAINED FOR A LONG TIME…
The word “SO” (oun) is a conjunction that occurs over 500 times in the New Testament and will often be rendered as “therefore.”
It literally means… NOW THEN or ACCORDINGLY SO or BY EXTENSION.
It’s a simple word that for the Greeks, not only connected two thought but explained HOW the thoughts were connected.
In other words… this is a CAUSE and EFFECT word!
BECAUSE of those that “poisoned” and “stirred up” others against the ministry… Paul and Barnabas STAYED… FOR A LONG TIME!
They didn’t flee again, they didn’t back down, they STAYED…
The word “LONG” (hikanos) indicates not just long, but a sufficient amount time. In other words, they stayed long enough for God to accomplish his plan IN SPITE of the adversity they were facing.
So the question for you, and for me, for every one who wants to lead or be a witness for Jesus in this dark world is…
“WHAT WILL YOU DO?”
Will you stay long enough, boldly proclaiming the gospel, that God may work through you in order to “bear witness to the word of HIS grace?”
The world needs Jesus, and for better or worse, we’re the closest thing they have to hearing about Him AND to seeing Him so…
keep sharing, keep working, keep loving, and keep following the Master!
I want to leave you with a quote by Matthew Henry:
“Perseverance in doing good, amidst dangers and hardships, is a blessed evidence of grace. Wherever God’s servants are driven, they should seek to declare the truth.
When they went on in Christ’s name and strength, he failed not to give testimony to the word of his grace. He has assured us it is the word of God,
and that we may venture our souls upon it…
God has a shelter for his people in a storm;
he is, and will be their Hiding-place…
In times of persecution, believers may see cause to quit a spot,
though they do not quit their Master’s work.”