As you read through Acts 14, you continue to follow Paul and Barnabas on their journeys. There are many things that hit home to me as I meditate on this, however, a couple of verses that are easily missed in this passage jumped off the page to me.
In verses 21-22, we see Paul and Barnabas “strengthening believers”, which is discipleship in action. But don’t miss what comes next: “They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Telling the fellow believers that they would be suffering hardships WAS encouragement. Paul and Barnabas compared our suffering hardships for following Christ to Jesus suffering hardships for the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul was helping the believers to change their perspective! Don’t get down and frustrated when trials and hardships come your way, instead, praise God that He is allowing you to grow through them, and pray and ask God to guide you through it. The path of suffering for the Kingdom of God leads to glory!
Prayer: God, help change my perspective in life to see that my trials and hardships are not a bad thing. Instead, help me know I can experience just a little bit of the suffering that your Son, Jesus, experienced, and that I am suffering for the Kingdom of God to spend an eternity with You!