“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy . . .” Acts 20:24, KJB
by Toni Birdsong
Tough circumstances. Difficult people. Mounting troubles. A future void of any guarantees. You can’t help but wonder: When will I ever catch a break?
It’s a logical question but what if the answer to that question is never?
• Would you still worship God with the same fierce devotion?
• Would your life still proclaim to others the goodness of God and the glory to come?
Turbulence defined the Apostle Paul’s post-Damascus life; still, he answered those very questions with a resounding “yes!”
His secret? He relocated his heart.
During his dramatic conversion from outlaw Saul to preacher Paul, God did for this sinner what only God can do. He uprooted Saul’s heart from the decaying earth and transplanted it into the depths of heaven.
Paul lived out an extraordinary earthly ministry by relocating his heart to heaven, which transformed his thinking and enabled him to endure extraordinary hardship. Think about it. From the day of conversion, Paul never caught a break. He was shipwrecked, run out of several towns, booed off big stages, brutally stoned, and repeatedly thrown in jail. Still, he lived with uncorked joy for the Great Commission. In fact, the book of Acts records in Chapter 13 that when the Jews expelled Paul and Barnabas from Antioch, the two evangelists “shook the dust off their feet” and moved on to the next town, “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
If Paul expected to “catch a break” in his turbulent life, he sure didn’t let on in his letters. We never read that he caved under the pressure, pulled the covers over his head, or peeled wheels for some much-needed “me time.” Nope. There’s no historical record that he obsessively analyzed his life, angsted over his critics, or wrestled down the “what ifs” of tomorrow.
No, Paul left those chains next to the lifeless body of Saul on that dusty Damascus road. And he never looked back.
That Paul could live like a free man while in prison confounded several of his captors. That he could sing and pray as his execution loomed compelled them toward Christ. That’s evangelism.
The way we live our lives through tough times will speak louder than the most powerful sermon we could hope preach. The deeper our praise in times of uncertainty, the higher God will raise our perspective until like Paul, we too will be able to say of the difficulties of life, “but none of these move me.” (Acts 20:24)
How do you maintain an eternal perspective through difficult situations?
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The way we live our lives thru tough times will speak louder than the most powerful sermon we could ever preach. #LiveSticky