Monday, July 31 – Acts 28:17-20
After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was handed over to the Romans as a prisoner from Jerusalem. And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there were no grounds for putting me to death. But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, since I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.”
We use the phrase “an uphill battle” to describe opposition, hurdles, and hardships we face when trying to complete a task. In those moments, one thing often keeps us moving forward: remembering why we are pursuing the goal in the first place. Paul faced opposition repeatedly as he traveled and shared the gospel. This was a definite uphill battle. Yet when he shared about this opposition, he reasserted the reason for his mission, “for the sake of the hope of Israel” (v. 20). Ultimately, Paul wanted to see God’s people reconciled to Him through Jesus.
We will face opposition in our faith, whether through a hard conversation with a nonbeliever or seeing someone we want to disciple reject the faith. Living as Christ has called us to is often an uphill battle. In those times, it is important that we, like Paul, remember why we are on this mission in the first place. First Corinthians 15:57-58 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Regardless of the circumstances we face, we can stand firm in the victory we have in Christ, making it our aim to help others know that same hope. Whether facing trial or delivering a powerful sermon that brought many to faith, the work Paul accomplished was not in vain, and the same is true for us today. We are called to be devoted to the work of the Lord, remembering the purpose of our mission even in an uphill battle. He will take care of the rest.
- When have you felt like living faithfully for Christ was an uphill battle?
- What is your typical reaction when you face opposition?
- Pray and ask God to help you stay devoted to His work, even in the face of opposition.