“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.  I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
While Paul was uncertain of exactly what obstacles were ahead of him, he understood from warnings of the Holy Spirit that it wouldn’t be all fun and games. He would certainly have problems. He found peace in the knowledge that he was serving God as he was called to. That the Lord gave him all he had, including life, and that he was nothing without God. He was more than willing to die, knowing that he was put there to serve God.
His task was to share the Gospel. It wasn’t going to be easy. Like an Iron Man competition, Paul would find many obstacles in the way. He knew he would need perseverance and strength to finish the race. He would need to persevere through persecution and hardship to complete his task – sharing the good news.
We, in this town, are probably not literally called to go to Jerusalem, and it is unlikely any of us will be put in jail or tortured for sharing the Gospel. Not in this country anyway. That being said, all of us are called to share the good news. To DO something and not just sit with the knowledge that we ourselves are saved. In our offices, in our schools, in the grocery stores.. share the good news. We are called to run this race. We can’t just sit idle and say we “love enough”, if we don’t even share the Gospel with those around us.
We can start by sharing the story of what Jesus has done for us and perhaps what Jesus has done through us. And, yes, there will be haters – a form of persecution. Expect it and power through it as a marathon runner hitting that barrier and gets his second wind. When we really truly realize that we are put here to glorify God, we will find the perseverance through any hardship getting in our way. Through it all, we will find peace knowing that we are glorifying God.
Lord I exalt you. It is only for your glory that I exist. Help me remember that with every breath I take, I am here so serve and glorify you. Keep me strong through persecution and give me peace in hard times when my purpose is to glorify you. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen.