Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. ~Acts 14:22
It goes without saying that life can be tough. Over the course of time, we will face tough situations, tough people, tough decisions, and tough setbacks. There is an old cliché that says, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” However, I found that many people, including Christians, quit when things get tough. They seek the path of least resistance. They refuse to take on risks of any kind. As we study our Bible, we are called upon to not be easy quitters. Instead, we are told to endure hardships. Our devotion this morning is looking at the importance of “toughing it out.”
We see the painful extreme.
“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.” Paul had come to Lystra where he met a lame man, who by the power of God, he healed. Though at first he was praised for his action, he later became the victim of a vicious attack. Jews who were hostile to Paul and his message attacked him with stones, drew him out of the city, and left him for dead. Paul took a severe beating that left him unconscious in a pool of blood on the ground. When you have been beaten up by your adversaries or problems, what do you do? When the pain has become unbearable, what do you do? When you’ve been beaten down and left bleeding out, what do you do? Paul was facing what a lot of us will face one day: a painful extreme.
We see a powerful example.
“Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch.” Was Paul out for the count? No! He gives us a powerful example on to tough it out when we’ve been beaten and left for dead. As he disciples encircled him and gave encouragement, Paul rose up. The first thing we must do if we’ve been beaten and left for dead is to rise up. Whatever it was that knocked you down, get up! Then, he went right back into the city to finish what he started! He kept preaching the gospel! Don’t let setbacks keep you from doing what God has called you to do. Stay where you are at and be strong.
We see the profitable exhortation.
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Paul returns to each of the cities where churches had been started to help them through discipleship and training. It is under this setting he gives exhortation that would help them finish their race with joy. First, he strengthened them spiritually. Confirming the souls of the disciples implies he gave them much spiritual counsel and teaching. Second, he exhorted them to be steadfast in the faith. This means don’t let discouragement, disparaging words, disagreeable people, and difficulties make you quit. Continue in the faith! Continue in what you were taught! Continue strong because of your spiritual forefathers. Don’t try to change the essentials of the faith: let the essentials of the faith change you. Third, more tough times are still to come. Tough it out! Don’t throw in the towel or give up. Remember that the trial of your faith worketh patience. You’ll make it to the end, but you must tough it out.
Thank the Lord for whatever difficulties he has entrusted to you, and determine that you will be resilient. Tough it out!
Have a steadfast God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Leviticus 8-10