“When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, ‘Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.;’”
- Acts 21:12-13 NIV
Often times we choose to step out in faith, but like Paul, others around us cannot fully grasp why we would even put ourselves in harm's way in order to follow God’s call. Paul knew the risks involved, and he had accepted the he might not only be imprisoned, but persecuted and even killed for proclaiming his faith.
We are fortunate here in America that we don’t live in a society where people are thrown into jail and killed for their faith. We have freedom of religion, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be persecuted, mocked, or rejected because of it. Any time you are different, you open yourself up to becoming the subject of ridicule and rejection. We experience it in childhood and adulthood. When we make the decision to take the big step of following Christ in baptism, we let our old lives die, so that we can be resurrected anew. We essentially are rejecting the ways we once lived, so it certainly makes sense that the life we once lived would reject us. But the good news is that that even though we may have days of persecution, days where we feel rejected, that we have a God who is for us (Romans 8:31) and a community of believers that is here to cheer us on.
[Upward] What did this passage reveal to you about God? Praise him for being that God.
[Inward] What did this passage bring up in you? Be honest with God about your questions and shortcomings, your fears and desires.
[Outward] What does this passage call me to in relationship to others in my world? Ask God to help you take your place in the new chapter of the Book of Acts that is being written in your life today.