ESOCS Devotional 21 December 2022
TEXT: ACTS 20:17-38
MEMORY VERSE: “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24
0 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted lace ”
Paul’s life and experience exemplifies the true picture of the labourer in the kingdom business of God. His life was characterized by different levels of trials and temptations. He was beaten and imprisoned several times. Yet, he was never discouraged. In Roman 8:35 He said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He persevered in the things of God. He literally fought to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere, even at the risk to his life. He remains remarkable in the history of Christianity, and especially in the tremendous afflictions he suffered because of the gospel. He explained what his life and those of the other disciples looked like as Christians and ministers of the gospel at that time of persecution (2 Cor. 6:1-10).
Christianity is not a bed of roses, as people often said. There are trials and temptations both great and small. 2 Timothy 3:12 says that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” We are encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness and steadfastness, and those of all the other disciples to remain strong in the Lord. Like Paul, we should not allow the afflictions we experience to make us cease from loving Christ more and more; for He first loved us and consented to suffer and die for us, even in the knowledge of all the terrible things that were going to be done to Him for our sake. Paul said, “none of these things move me”. None of the troubles of life should make us turn our back on God. Let us endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ (2Ti 2:3). The word of God in James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
While the evil one labours to divert us from the eternal crown, we should be resolved in our hearts to remain constant in our walk with Jesus, so that we also finish our race with joy. Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to imitate the example of our Lord Jesus who is “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The afflictions we may suffer now cannot be compared to the crown of glory that the Lord will give to us in the end. For God has prepared great things for those that truly love Him, which the heart or mind or imagination of man cannot understand. The scripture says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him”(1 Cor. 2:9). Let us follow the examples of those who ran the race before us; for there is no better choice.
- Make a commitment to God that you would worship Him no matter the trials of life.
- Pray for the grace to remain faithful during temptations and afflictions.
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ESOCS Devotional 21 December 2022