Acts 23:11 Keep up your courage. For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome.
Keep Up the Courage
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Adversity is something that none of us really likes. We just don’t. Look, in theory at least, we get it that it’s part and parcel of life. We get that. But in practice, when adversity comes knocking on your door, when adversity and suffering seem to be plundering your life, all sorts of thoughts go through your head. We question God and, truly, it’s easy to lose heart.
Courage is an interesting thing. It’s something that we only need when there’s adversity, suffering, fear. Courage and fear, are bed fellows. Sure you can have fear without courage, but you can’t have courage, without fear. And fear is born out of adversity.
The Apostle Paul, back in the first century, had a rather long, agonising march towards martyrdom. He was arrested in Jerusalem while he was actually there to do something really good – he was bringing funds that he’d raised for the church there, because there was a famine going on. Nevertheless, he was arrested and tried several times before being shipped off to Rome, enduring a shipwreck, being bitten by a viper and then, ending up on death row in a Roman dungeon.
Just sensational. But when he was about to leave Jerusalem on that long boat trip, God stood next to him and said this:
Keep up your courage. For just as you have testified for me in Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also in Rome. (Acts 23:11)
Now, if you or I had been God, would we have dealt with Paul this way? Probably not.
But God did and so often we’re surprised when he deals with us like that too, because we wouldn’t do it that way, if we were God.
But Jesus had a plan for Paul. He’d chosen Paul from amongst the sect of fanatical, puritanical Pharisees, revealed Himself in the most dramatic fashion to Paul on that road to Damascus and was now sending him on to Rome.
Not on a luxury liner in a first class cabin – that’s what we expect, right?! – but in the hold, in chains, as a prisoner to face adversity and danger along the way and ultimately to be locked up in a Roman dungeon, where, by the way, Paul wrote a good many of the letters that now make up the New Testament.
But before he departed Jerusalem, God supernaturally spoke courage into His heart. God pulled alongside Paul in the most amazing way and supernaturally spoke His Word into Paul’s heart. God imparted His courage to Paul. The courage that he needed to face what lay ahead.
What adversity are you travelling through at the moment? What pain are you experiencing? What fear is gripping your heart, just at the moment?
Because right here, right now, God wants to speak that same courage into your heart.
Keep up your courage, because I have a plan for you.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.