Courageous Love

“Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconic and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. Acts 14:19-22

Here is another instance where Paul, this well known, Christian hating, persecuting Pharisee turned Apostle for Jesus, is beaten for the gospel's sake. But this time it seems to have ended in unconsciousness or what many Bible scholars believe, death. Paul, like many times before, risks his life to make sure lost people hear about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. But this is a familiar pattern for Paul in the book of Acts. Paul preaches Jesus, people get mad, Paul gets chased, sometimes caught, sometimes beaten, sometimes imprisoned and sometimes all of the above. On this occasion, it looks like He dies, and when the believers gather around him to mourn and pray, miraculously he gets up like nothing happened. Instead of leaving to share with a more receptive and safer audience, he goes right back! Wait! What is Paul thinking? Paul don't you know they will try to kill you again! Paul, what is wrong with you? And I believe, if Paul were among us today, he would answer, “Since the day I gave my life to Jesus, everything is right with me.” I believe the real question is, what is wrong with us? Why wouldn’t we do the same thing? What would hold us back? What inside of us reads a story like this and thinks, “No way!” The answer isn’t hard to discover, just difficult to admit. The truth is we lack the Love that Paul had allowed to grip his heart. A perfect love that refused to care about oneself in any way. A love, the Bible says, we possess and live out through the indwelling Spirit of Christ. I know the process of growing in this love takes time, but the decision to grow in this kind of love happens In a moment. Let this be the moment where you ask Jesus to make this kind of love a reality in your heart and mind. Ask Him to begin this work in you, so that, in days and months and years to come, stories may be told about you. Stories of a courageous love that gripped you so strongly, that you had no concern for yourself, but instead, was solely driven by your love for all those who were lost and apart from Jesus.

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