After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.
- Acts 14:21-22
If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn't real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn't fall apart.
In Acts 14, we read that Paul and Barnabas encouraged the believers "to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God" (verse 22).
Notice that Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue in the faith-not in the feeling. Emotions come and go. There are times when you feel God's presence, and then there are times when you don't. So what do you do then? You press on, because "the just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). Whether we feel God's presence today or we don't, that is okay. We are to press on, because this is a walk of faith. Don't worry about emotions. Don't focus on emotions that fluctuate. Remember that God is with you, and one day you will join Him in glory.
A. B. Simpson wrote, "Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord; once it was the feeling, now it is His Word. Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own; once I sought for healing, now Himself alone."
When you are a young Christian, you want the blessing. But as you grow, you just want God. That is a mark of maturity. We need to continue in the faith when the skies are blue and also when they are filled with clouds. We must press on when our health is good and also when it is not what it used to be. Because we know in that final day it will all be worth it.
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