Psalm 20-22 Acts 21:1-17
“When we all heard this, we and the people there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But he said, ‘Why are you crying and making me so sad? I am not only ready to be tied up in Jerusalem, I am ready to die for the Lord Jesus!’” (Acts 21:12-13 NCV)
Paul had one goal in his life: he wanted to be faithful to the call of God no matter what the consequences might be. As he preached on his journeys, he would stir up opposition and dealt with being run out of town, imprisonments, beatings, and stonings. He endured all of these attacks with grace. He endured the problems of Christians who were easily swayed by false teachers and sought to draw them back into the way of grace. Is it any surprise then, when Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem that he didn’t let the warnings of what might happen deter him from his mission? He was ready to be placed in chains, or even die, as long as people knew that he had done this for Jesus.
One of the common things people hear when they’re embarking on a journey or task of some kind are the words “Be safe.” We do a lot of things to make sure that we’re safe when we’re traveling. I’m always amused when someone tells me to be safe as I get ready to fly somewhere. I’ll leave that safety issue to the pilot. As followers of Christ, we don’t commit to following God if things are safe. We commit to following God knowing that He will be with us in those times when it’s not safe. It’s to easy to retreat into our safety zones as we hang around fellow Christians who agree with us. I’ve never felt God meant for us to seek our own safety. He’s called us to go out into this harsh world and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The worst thing that could happen to us when we’re serving God in unsafe areas is that we may be killed. I don’t worry about that because Jesus already conquered that enemy. Every day we have opportunities to serve the Lord. Sometimes they’re safe. Sometimes He calls us to engage society with the gospel and be ready to risk our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. (Yes, I stole that phrase from the Declaration of Independence.) All that we risk is nothing compared to the joy of fellowshipping with God. Today, when you’re faced with an insurmountable opportunity, embrace it. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Do whatever you need to do to follow God’s call on your life.
Lord, remind me that the only safe place in this world is in the center of Your will. Let me be willing to follow You no matter what the danger may be. Let me be willing to face prison or death for the Lord Jesus, even as Paul was.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved