Acts 20:22-24, "And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don't know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
Paul was about to go to Jerusalem. He didn't know what would lie ahead, but what he did know was that he would suffer and be put in jail. Although he knew this, he made a remarkable statement which says this: "But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God." (Verse 24).
One thing was for sure: Paul was going to finish the race for which Christ had called him. (See Philippians 3:14).
As I look at Paul's life, I notice that God really was first on his list of importance.
Looking at my own life, I must ask myself if Christ always has top priority on my list of importance. What matters to me more than anything else? Would I be going somewhere that I felt led to go if all I knew was that jail and suffering awaited me?
In America, I've come to find that it's easy to call ourselves Christians because we don't have to fear being thrown into prison or being tortured. It's definitely a gift to be able to say we're Christians without fearing for our lives. The bad part is that it's all too easy to be lukewarm and not be sold-out for Christ as we should be.
As I thought about what took first place on my list of importance, I realized that oftentimes I'm more concerned with other things rather than finishing the work Christ has called me to do. I get my focus fixed on things that are earthly pleasures rather than remembering that this world is temporary and eternity is what really matters.
When I look at my life, I see that sometimes I get too wrapped up in trying to make this life happen for myself. I get wrapped up in desiring a job where I can support myself. Most of my prayers lately revolve around being able to go somewhere in life and begging God to allow my future husband and me to be together.
Although I'm not being told I'll be imprisoned and have to suffer physically, what if I had to choose between my dreams and God's call for me? What if I knew that God was telling me I had to choose between Him and getting married, raising a family, and having a place of my own?
One thing I've come to find: life really isn't worth living unless you're in the center of God's will for you. As Paul said it: "But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus..."
My desire is that God will be first on my list of importance no matter what lies ahead. Even if I'm imprisoned... even if I must suffer... even if that means not seeing my earthly dreams happen... Is Christ really number one in my life?
This brings me to Luke 9:23-25 which says, "Then he said to the crowd, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?'"
If you want an adventure, the best one you can ever take is an adventure with Christ. Being a Christian is the farthest thing from boring. If you want to know what true fulfillment is, it's putting Christ first and doing His will.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As I read Acts 20:22-24, I am encouraged to come up higher and to have You first on my list of importance regardless of what I may have to give up in the world to do so. Lord, one thing You've taught me over the years is that life really isn't worth living unless I'm doing what You've called me to do. We all have a purpose and a call on our lives. I pray that You'll be first on my list of importance. Help me be sold-out for You. I don't want to put on a show of Christianity. My desire is that I am on fire for You. Remind me daily that this world will pass away but that You remain the same and are eternal. In Jesus' Name.
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