When hardship comes, what is your first response? Is it to feel sorry for yourself? Is it to call a friend and vent? Do you turn to the Lord?
We all have things we walk through in life, we all experience hardship, it is unfortunately apart of life. Even though we don’t have much power over things that happen to us, we do have power over our response.
When looking at the life of Paul, I think of so many qualities that I desire to portray in my own life. He is confident in his beliefs, he has a deep love for the churches that he spoke and wrote to, he mentors and pours into others—but perhaps his most astonishing quality is the fact that he never gives up. No matter what.
In the bible is it shown that Paul has an amazing ministry and reaches tons of people though his ministry, but it does not come without hardship. It’s very likely that Paul experiences more difficulty in his lifetime than you and I combined. He undergoes beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonment, being stoned, hunger (2 Cor, 11:25-28), and ultimately dies a death of martyrdom because of his faith in God.
This man’s life is both encouraging and challenging. It is a challenge because Paul endures all the of this hardship and still never gives up, instead digging his heels in harder and refusing to compromise and refusing to take a step back. Surely we can have some perseverance in our faith as well.We should be able to look at his life as an inspiration because he never gives up and to continues going with God-no matter what.
Paul says in Ephesians that we need the armor of God. We wouldn’t need armor if there were no battle. He says the armor of God will enable us to withstand all that the enemy tries to inflict upon us. Paul also says when you have done ALL you can to stand, don’t stop there, but continue to stand. In other words, never give up, never back down. There is nothing too hard to endure that gives us the go ahead to quit standing.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore…”
His words are an encouragement because of the hope they offer. Over and over again in scripture, we see how Paul always manages to get the gospel out. Whether he is preaching in a group, ministering to his friends, or writing letters to churches-the gospel goes forth. This shows God’s involvement in every aspect of His word being preached. It is divinely inspired and it is divinely spread. Even in the midst of all the hardship Paul endures, the gospel still goes forth.
If you are feeling discouraged or feeling as if your voice doesn’t matter, I encourage you today to press on. Whether things are good or bad, I encourage you to not be silenced by your circumstances or by opinions of others or even what happens to you. Press on.
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”
Featured image by Brooke Cagle