And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
The ministry of Paul and Barnabas was hard work. It wasn’t an easy life, but it was so immeasurably important that they were willing to lay everything on the line. Despite what they had just endured—attacks and persecution and opposition—they kept right on going. Paul was even stoned, and yet he got up to continue the work because it was worth it to him. This wasn’t their doing, but it was the calling of God upon their lives. This was their service to their Lord and Master. This was their response to the love and grace they’d been shown by Jesus in their own lives. This was the powerful working of the Spirit in them.
So after all that Paul and Barnabas had been through, they come back to some churches and tell the people to just be faithful, to endure those hard things and keep going anyway because it is worth it. That is how convicted they were of the truth of Christ. That is how dedicated they were to the cause and His kingdom. Nothing would stop them, and they wanted others to continue in the faith no matter what happened to them for taking a stand for Jesus.
We must make the same kind of commitment to Jesus. If we are as convinced as Paul and Barnabas were of the truth of Christ and the work that He did, then we must choose to live for Him. We must endure whatever we have to on His behalf. We must remain faithful to His cause no matter who opposes us. And we have to keep going even when it is hard. We must get up each day and continue in our faith in Jesus Christ. And we must not expect an easy road, but on that road, we can know Jesus is with us every step of the way.
Let’s not give up on living the Christian life, even as it gets more difficult in our world today to do so. Let’s not give up on seeking Christ and serving Him in whatever He calls us to. May we be obedient to Him without worrying what other people might do. Let us be willing to endure and to encourage others to keep going along the way. May our own faith and faithfulness be an example to others as we seek to grow together as the body of Christ.