The Apostle Paul lived during very turbulent times! The same is certainly true in regard to the era in which we live today. These may well be described as “the best of times and the worst of times,” depending on our perspective.
God has set a course for each of us and in the end, we will be judged as to whether or not we have kept the faith, run the race, and finished the course. Have we known and done the will of God?
Paul remained steadfast and immoveable even in a world of extreme chaos. Therefore, we can learn much from his example.
Although he knew that the course before him would involve tremendous challenges, persecution, even “chains and tribulations,” he was compelled by the Spirit to stay the course.
"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24 ).
This passage reveals some important keys to Paul’s success as well as our own.
“But none of these things move me”: We must not give in to distractions that take us off course. This can involve evil things as well as those that may appear to be good. Do not focus on things that are not part of God’s plan. The more we focus on something, the more likely we are to move in that direction.
“Nor do I count my life dear to myself”: Keep in mind, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“I may finish my race with joy”: This is our race to run. Nobody else can run my race nor finish the course that God has set before me. In order to finish, I must maintain an attitude of joy. The Lord has given us His joy so our joy can “remain full.” His joy is our continual source of strength. The joy that was set before Him was what enabled Christ to endure the cross.
“The ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus”: Each of us has received a ministry from the Lord. This is His purpose for giving us life. It is essential to remember: Success = Knowing and Doing the Will of God (nothing more, nothing less, nothing else). It is impossible to DO God’s will if we do not KNOW what it is. This comes through revelation given through God’s Spirit and Word.
“To testify to the gospel of the grace of God”: Our life is our testimony. Is my life a testimony, demonstration, manifestation, and illustration of God’s grace?
The course before us will include many twists and turns. There will be shifts and seasons, perhaps persecution and tribulation. We must be well grounded in the Word, faith, and joy!
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).