“We must all go
through many hardships to enter the
– Acts 14:22
I’m not a
big Survivor fan, but I have been watching and enjoying the latest season. And
I’ve been enjoying it for one main reason: one of this year’s contestants, Jonathan
Young, a 29-year-old bodyguard from
As you might know, in every episode of Survivor, there are immunity challenges that protect you from getting voted out of the game. In one of this season’s team immunity challenges, three teams had to retrieve a heavy ladder that was strapped to the ocean floor in choppy seas. Two of the teams had to give up after almost drowning. But not Jonathan’s team! He put that ladder on his shoulder—while he dragged his struggling teammates through the waves to safety.
On Survivor, Jonathan Young demonstrates strength, determination and perseverance. And it consistently pays off. The same could be said about the Apostle Paul. He demonstrated incredible strength, determination and perseverance. And it consistently paid off, as we’ll see in Acts 13 and 14.
traveled on from the mainland of modern-day
first stop was the Jewish synagogue, where he was called on to speak. Given
that opportunity, Paul didn’t beg off because he was worn out from a long
journey and recovering from an illness. Instead, he delivered an inspiring,
God-centered sermon, letting them know that “God has brought to
Paul and Barnabas traveled on to the city of
reached the town of
Look at verse 20: “But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up
and went back into the city.” Notice that little word, “disciples.” Evidently,
there were people in Lystra who had become disciples of Jesus Christ. Paul
wasn’t about to leave them without a proper goodbye. So, once he regained
consciousness, he stood up, turned around and staggered right back into town. And
the next day, Paul and Barnabas moved on to the city of
Paul is a marvelous example of a Christian who persevered through pain, hardship and difficulties. I’d like to highlight three of those difficulties that God has called you and me to persevere through as well.
#1: Persevere through surprises and unexpected curveballs. It seems clear that in Pisidian Antioch, Paul didn’t know he was going to be given the opportunity to preach on that Sabbath Day. He was not feeling 100 percent, and he was tired from his 100-mile hike over the mountain range. But when called upon, he spoke a clear, powerful message about Jesus.
#2: Persevere through compliments and criticism. You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Don’t believe your own press releases.” I’ve discovered over the years that the truth about Dane is rarely found on the lips of my biggest fans. Neither is the truth about Dane found on the lips of my biggest critics. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I’m definitely not Jesus. But I’m not Satan either. The same is true of you. So, don’t let either compliments or criticism sidetrack you from your God-given mission. Persevere through compliments AND through criticism.
#3: Persevere through pain and persecution. I doubt that any of us will ever be knocked unconscious by rocks being thrown at our heads by a mob. But in one way or another, all of us will experience pain for Jesus. All of us will suffer persecution for Jesus. Jesus promised it. He tells us in John 15:20, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” But every bit of pain and persecution we endure for Jesus Christ is fruitful.
in Acts 14:22, “We must all go through many hardships to enter the
Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook Live. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.