Good morning and happy Sunday! Today I’m sharing my first “Scripture Sunday” post of the year, how exciting! I honestly can’t believe it’s already 2018. I made so many amazing memories around the world with several of my favorite people and had lots of success in 2017 (read my 2017 year in review post here), so I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings, especially for my faith and relationship with God! Like I said, today’s post is a “Scripture Sunday,” so if you’re offended by the Christian religion or just don’t like reading about it this post might not be the one for you. If that’s the case, feel free to scroll through my blog, I hope you find something else you like! Enjoy!
Acts 14:22; strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
Before I begin my personal anecdote for this week’s “Scripture Sunday,” I’d like to address the fact that this verse was obviously taken out of context (as you can tell by the sentence’s fragmentation). The complete sentence begins “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconic and to Antioch,” referring to Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey through hostile regions. The reason I didn’t include more verses in today’s Scripture to avoid this explanation is that I really wanted to draw attention to verse 14 individually because I think it is so simple and applicable to a Christian’s daily life. Now that you have a little background on today’s verse, let’s start applying it!
As I head back to school for second semester of my junior year tomorrow, I have a lot of personal goals and changes for my life in mind. I want to study harder, go to bed earlier, perform better in lacrosse, the whole nine yards. The goal that is really at the top of my list is to start laying a spiritual foundation in my relationships and really begin to encourage my friends in their own relationships with the Lord.
A couple days ago, I had one of my best friends spend the night. Around midnight, we had an impromptu Bible study in which we read Acts 14 and a bit of Matthew 4. Something that really stuck out to us both was Acts 14:22. This verse describes Paul and Barnabas’ actions when they returned to the hostile regions of Lystra, Iconic, and Antioch to check on the believers living in those areas. According to the verse, Paul and Barnabas strengthened the souls of disciples, encouraged them to continue in the faith, and said that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
Sitting on my bedroom floor with this close friend of mine, I realized that I want Acts 14:22 to be my daily life. I think that as Christians, we should be strengthening and encouraging our disciple (Christian) friends to continue spreading God’s love and holding onto their faith. We should remind them in tribulations (aka times of troubles and suffering) that a life with Christ isn’t necessarily an easy one, but one that is worth the work.
This week, think about how you’re encouraging your Christian friends. Are you already living out Acts 14:22? Are you seeing any similarity between the verse and your own life at all? I know there are days when I sure don’t. It’s a new year, a new semester, a fresh start. I firmly believe that if just a few of us begin loving on and encouraging our friends this way, this kind and Christ-like behavior will spread. Let’s make a point to live a little more like Paul and Barnabas.
Thanks for reading! Have a blessed week!
P.S. – If you’re interested in reading my previous “Scripture Sunday” posts you can find them all here!