Rubber Band Christians
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. ~Acts 13:51
Some experiences in life can be very stressful and, even, traumatizing. These events can cause us to become bitter and lose focus, and they can make us think that it is best to withdraw and retreat. This morning, we see two men who exemplify incredible resilience. They are like a rubber band when it is stretched to its maximum: they bounced back into form and continued to excel at what they did. Let us see the importance of being a “rubber-band Christian.”
We see the rejection.
"But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." Barnabas and Saul were under attack for preaching the gospel to the Jews and Gentiles at Antioch of Pisidia. They were subjected to verbal and physical harassment and assault. The same people they lovingly ministered to over the past few days were satanically inspired to see these two servants of God as enemies. Not only were they assaulted, but they were forced out of the city and the surrounding area. When we face rejection, we can become embittered, angry, and, perhaps, regretful that we even tried to do right. Rejection brings out cynicism, fear, reservation, and a risk-averse attitude. Are you someone who is dealing with the aftermath of rejection?
We see the reminder.
"And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them" (Luke 9:5). Jesus gives specific counsel to His servants when we are faced with rejection for preaching the gospel. He told us to shake the very dust off of our feet. First, this is a testimony that these people are not just rejecting us, but also are rejecting God. Second, this is a testimony that we are not responsible for their rejection of the gospel. They will stand accountable for their refusal to let the Lord speak to them. Third, it means there is no need for the messenger to go back. Fourth, it means that the messenger has more ground to cover and more people to see, and so must move on to new locations to serve in.
We see the response.
Barnabas and Saul shook the dust off of their feet. Instead of getting hurt feelings and groveling in the dirt, they shook it off. Hardships and difficult experiences can be unsettling, but the Lord encourages us to shake them off. Don’t let them grow on you. Don’t let the opportunity for the devil to become a squatter in your life. Don’t let the situations change you into a cynical or skeptical person. Then, they moved to Iconium which was about 30-40 miles south. They didn’t stop and languish: they kept going. Our response under adverse circumstances is not to wallow in our hurt, but to shake it off and keeping going forward.
We see the resilience.
They were resilient. They bounced right back. They did not hate those who hated them, but they wisely moved on so that things could cool off. Resilience is showing durability, steadfastness, and tenacity. It is having a positive and proactive attitude going forward. These servants of God went right back to championship form. Resilient people keep investing in others. They went to Iconium, seeking to invest in people there. Resilient people are committed to growing. Their trial brought the best, and not the worst, out of them. They grew in the grace of our Lord. They grew in their dealing with difficult people. They grew in their walk with the Lord. Whatever you might face that is adversarial, decide to bounce back into form. Be tough, be tenacious, and take charge.
Have a resilient God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 4-6