Thursday, July 20 – Acts 20:29-31
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
Difficulty is one of the most compelling teachers in life. If someone has done something that ended with their being seriously hurt, we are unlikely to want to do that thing. If we see someone else’s words rejected by others, we are not likely to want to repeat that thing. If we are being honest, the threat of difficultly often brings us anxiety. Paul wanted to leave the elders of Ephesus with an accurate expectation of what was to come. This gospel of God’s grace was not popular and difficult circumstances were ahead.
Difficult circumstances not only deter us from doing something, but they also often confuse us, and we may lose clarity during the storm. Anticipating this, Paul reminded those in Ephesus of his own testimony through trials. Hebrews 12:2-3 has some insight on how this kind of testimony is possible, it says we are to “[look] only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” This kind of testimony is only possible through Christ. When we live for this world, the best we can work toward is ideal circumstances and comfort but when we live for Christ, we know there is more ahead for us in eternity. We can leave a legacy that lasts more than a moment and continues to glorify God even in difficult circumstances.
- How have difficult circumstances threatened your faith?
- What does it look like to live for the joy set before you in eternity?
- Pray and ask God to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus even in difficult circumstances.