Are You Willing To Pay The Cost? Think Hard Before You Answer
"From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness..." 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 Many believers have been going through unprecedented trials and some have fallen away. And ...that is exactly Satan's intent when he attacks God's children, especially if they are serving God in any effectual way. Satan means to stop them, to destroy their calling, and he often succeeds. But the Scriptures warn us to be prepared for this and not be taken by surprise, but rather to understand what is happening in the spiritual realm. "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you..." 1 Peter 4:12 It can get to you when it goes on and on and on for awhile, and again ...that is the intent. Understanding this is necessary for you to be able to stand. Brothers and sisters, when you feel you just can't take it anymore, consider what Paul suffered in his ministry and calling. Reread that passage above. He was perhaps the greatest man who ever walked the earth other than Christ himself, but take a look at the incredible efforts of Satan to stop him. He was beaten and left for dead, he experienced weariness, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, he was cold and tired, very very tired. Yet he knew that this was the cost of serving Christ and he did not allow Satan to discourage him - no matter what. Today Paul is in glory, satisfied with the fruit of the work he accomplished in spite of the ordeal that was his lot as he toiled. One of the most amazing passages in the Bible is the account of Paul and Silas when they were hurled into prison. They had been beaten with rods, their backs bloodied and were thrown into a dungeon, their feet tied in stocks - read it in Acts 16:22-33. But ...at midnight Paul and Silas . . .were heard singing praises to God ! ! ! Think on this. In pain, backs bloodied, in a dungeon ...singing praises to God! I am not so advanced in my spiritual walk that I can even imagine singing praises to God if I were lying in a dungeon with my back bloodied and my feet in stocks. I've meditated on this many times, trying to understand how Paul and Silas could do this. It just seems beyond the impossible. What understanding did they have that was beyond anything Satan could do to them? Yet that is exactly what they were doing - singing praises to God. And God responded, as he always does when we worship him. ...There was an earthquake and all the prisoners' chains fell off. The end of this story is the jailer and all his household being saved. Note that Paul didn't know that was going to happen at the beginning of this story. He sang praises to God while in his desperate condition. Brothers and sisters, take heart. The Lord is coming soon and we simply do not have much time left to complete our work for him on this earth before the end. Resolve in your heart to expect the ferocious attacks of the enemy designed to bring us down and render us neutralized. Do not allow Satan to stop you, to stop the work you've been called to do. It's far too important. Accept the cost, and labor on knowing that the reward is ETERNAL. Resolve in your heart to arrive in heaven without regret. It will be SO very worth it!