2 Corinthians 11:24-25 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
Philippians 1:20– I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
Reflection: What motivates YOU? Have you ever considered the hardships & persecutions that Paul faced in order to preach the gospel? What made Paul so bold & courageous in his faith?
What made him willing to suffer so many things? He was beaten with rods three times, stoned, shipwrecked three times, exposed to perils from rivers, bandits, cities, desert places, the sea, false apostles, hardships, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold & lack of clothing? After all wouldn’t this be enough to make any us give up & throw in the towel?
You see if this had been Paul’s idea, he would have given up. If this had been Paul’s agenda, he would have resigned and handed over his credentials. If this had been Paul’s personal goal in life, he would have decided that he had failed miserably & it was time to hang it up and retire! But this wasn’t Paul’s idea, nor was it his agenda, nor was it his personal goal dreamed up by himself! This was God’s plan & Paul was willing & obedient to walk it out! What kept Paul going, after he suffered many things, was his love for Jesus Christ and for those that were lost!
When our hearts are set on eternity the urgency of those that are lost will burn 24/7 inside of us. Paul knew that a powerless religion wasn’t the answer! He had experienced the power of God on the road to Damascus, as well as seen many miracles, signs and wonders take place! We may face many disappointments, setbacks, discouragements & persecution for His name sake. We can have failure starring us right in the face & but if our hearts are set on eternity, we will keep going to reach the lost! Paul’s love was so great for Jesus Christ that he was willing to suffer many things! He kept going because eternity burned 24/7 in his heart and he knew that he had to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ!
As the Body of Christ, when we understand that our lives are but a vapor and we are living for eternity, our whole perspective of eternity will change. We have to have more than just compassion for the lost, we have to put our faith into action & demonstrate that God lives on the inside of us! We have to be willing to give a reason for our hope, because our hope is in Jesus Christ! We must put our faith into action & reach out to those that are without Christ! Every opportunity that we use to reach the lost, is one more chance for someone to know where they will spend eternity! Without the message of the cross, there is no hope for those who are perishing!