While reading the book of Acts last week I was struck by a sentence in chapter 19 that left me pondering the life of Paul.
We know how much of an influential figure Paul is in the Bible and to the Christian faith. And we certainly see how God used Paul in Acts 19:11&12: “God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.”
But while caught up reading all about the big things Paul did, it becomes all too easy to downplay the importance of our day-to-day steadfastness and our dedication to the long haul.
Take Acts 19:10, for example:
“This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord.”
What speaks to me most about this verse is how long Paul was willing to stay put. Two years is a long time. Think of a difficult project, or the launch of a new dream, or a goal of getting fit, or a career change, or a move, or the first two years of a new baby’s life. Now picture yourself telling yourself that this process is going to take two whole years… and it will be hard… and it will be tiring… and it will be emotional draining. A strong mentality is needed to commit to anything of such long-term value.
But I believe we can read about verses like 11&12 because Paul was committed to the work of day in and day out.
He was faithful to show up.
He was dedicated to the work.
He was committed to the process.
He was compelled by the Gospel.
I truly believe that if we approach our difficult projects, our new launches, our fit goals, our career changes, our moves, our child rearing, our day-to-day living, all with the same steadfastness and commitment that Paul exemplified, I truly truly truly believe that God will give us the same power He gave Paul, and we will see unusual miracles in our lives.
We must be faithful to show up.
We must stay dedicated to the work.
We must remain committed to the process.
And we MUST be compelled by the Gospel because all other motivations will never give us the eternal perspective we need to keep up the fight.