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10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11
Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet
with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish
leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand
him over to the Gentiles.’” 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13
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.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
chapter seven is where we find the first mention of Paul (Saul) in the
New Testament. There, he was so opposed to the Jesus followers that he
approved of killing them. By Acts 21, the Apostle Paul had himself
become such a committed follower of the Lord Jesus that he was ready to
face imprisonment or even death for him. As a committed follower of
Jesus, Paul's primary concern was not his own freedom or safety, but
rather God's will. If doing the things he believed God wanted him to do
resulted in hardship, he was willing to do them. Jesus had suffered
and died in order to accomplish God's will, and Paul was willing to
follow that same path if necessary.
Response and Action:
I willing to follow Jesus into hardship? If following Jesus means
loss, am I willing to lose? If loving as he loves means suffering, am I
willing to suffer? If living out the grace and generosity of Jesus
means giving up possessions and living with less, am I willing to let
go of things? If forgiving as he forgives requires sacrifice, am I
willing to suffer loss? If obedience to God requires the faith to face
death, am I willing to die?
I want to love the Lord,
my God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want love Jesus
and follow in his steps. I will press on to know Christ more and
more—to be so committed that I not only believe in his promise to
bless, but also find myself able and willing to share in his suffering.
I want to embrace the Christ life so fully that I am willing and able
to die to myself.
O God, help
me to find my life in you. Give me a faith that makes me able to commit
all things to you. Give me a heart for your will and your purposes.
Shape and strengthen me to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Whether by
life or death, may Christ be exalted in me. Help me to press on to take
hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. It's in his name that I
pray these things. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will
have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted
in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling
by John Stott