Having Faith with a Brave Heart
Day: 24 | Plan: Acts
Today's Reading: Acts 22
Acts 22:22 (NIV) “The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, ‘Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!’”
Do you ever feel like your faith requires too much work or sacrifice? I wonder if the apostle Paul sometimes felt that way.
Paul had two major goals in mind for his trip to Jerusalem: (1) to share the good news of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:24) and (2) to bring unity between the Jews and Gentiles. (Romans 10:12) However, part of that plan quickly fell short when Paul found himself being dragged out of the Jerusalem temple by an angry mob shouting, “Get rid of him!” (Acts 21:36)
After being falsely accused of bringing Greeks into the temple area and now with his hands bound in two chains, Paul asked to speak to the enraged crowd. He certainly had great courage considering he was about to be flogged and possibly put to death.
Looking over the accusing crowd, Paul made his defense, which included three main themes:
1. Paul shared his past and confessed his prior destructive conduct towards Christians.
2. Paul testified of his encounter with Jesus and radical conversion on the road to Damascus.
3. Paul explained how God had instructed him to minister to the Gentiles. The crowds listened quietly until Paul made his statement about the Gentiles. At that point, they shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” (Acts 22:22)
This would have been the sixth time a crowd was stirred up and Paul’s life was in danger, because of his faithfulness to God and commitment to the early church. (Acts 14:19; 16:19-22; 17:5-8, 13; 19:25-34)
Despite all the challenges, Paul continued to press on. When falsely accused, Paul never became bitter. When he was beaten, stoned and left for dead, Paul refused to give up.
With such a high-risk role, Paul probably felt like things were over for him on several occasions, but that wasn’t the case. God had plans for Paul to ultimately arrive in Rome.
The work God had begun through Paul would not be shortchanged. Each ordained assignment would come to pass through God’s careful orchestration, in His perfect timing.
Paul took great risks for the gospel. This challenges me and prompts me to ask the question, “What risks am I willing to take in order to tell others about Jesus?”
Like Paul, will I choose to press forward, even when the opposition gets tough? Will I live my life with open hands following God’s lead even when I don’t understand?
Will I share my faith with a brave heart, trusting God to complete the work He’s started in me?
Friend, what risks are you willing to take to tell others about Jesus?
Is there someone in your neighborhood, at your job or your child’s school that desperately needs the love of Christ? How about stretching that brave heart of yours and faithfully share with one person how God has changed your life.
God wants to use you to bring the light and hope of Jesus to someone else. And He’s already fully equipped you with the Holy Spirit.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to sound preachy. Simply share your story honestly and trust that God will give you the right words to say. Remember, you’re not doing this alone. He is right there with you, every step of the way.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I’m sorry for the times I haven’t shared my faith with others. My doubts or pride can sometimes get in the way of doing what I know is right. Give me a brave and willing heart to share Your love with others who desperately need You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes some of the challenges he faced, along with the... Read More
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