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And if they are asked to do a little extra work for free, they act like martyrs who are doing something extremelysacrificial!A If youa€™re going to do something mighty for God, you have to throw yourself into the call of God and do what is needed, regardless of whether or not it is convenient to you.
The fact is, doing what God has called us to do must be paramount in our lives a€” more important than any comfort or pleasure. They think that if a person walks in faith, that somehow means he will escape all adversities in life.A But when you read the New Testament, you find that the early believers and the Apostles faced many adversities. Like the examples we see in the lives of Jesus and the apostle Paul, we must be willing to do anything required or go to any length to do exactly what God has assigned to us.A Of course God wants His people to be blessed! But a believer shouldna€™t start whining and complaining just because he runs into an attack of the devil that affects the level of comfort he is accustomed to. The devil was the one who shrewdly planned those attacks in order to stop the preaching of the Gospel.
And if hea€™s asked to do a little more than what is usually asked of him, he shouldna€™t start griping that the extra task is not a part of his job description. And Satan is still working nonstop to prevent people from stepping into the glorious plan God has designed for their lives.A There is something very encouraging about studying the strategies the devil arrayed against the early believers. When a person does that, we can know that this is someone who will not do something mighty for God a€” at least not until he makes anadjustment in his attitude!A To push the forces of hell out of the way, you have to be more determined than hell itself. A man with no faith wouldna€™t have survived those attacks.a€?A Dona€™t get the impression that walking in faith removes you from all challenges. Faith just givesA you the ability toA overcome the challenges that will attempt to assail you. He tells us that he has been physically beaten as he pursued the fulfillment of his God-given task, experiencing a€?a€¦stripes above measurea€¦.a€?A The word a€?stripesa€? is the Greek word plege. But the grammar used in this statement does not imply a single victory in the past, butA a continuous and abiding victory.
After Goda€™s power shook the prison walls and set Paul and Silas free, the keeper of theA prison came to them to ask how to be saved. Here we see an example of the physical beatings Paul endured.A But this incident in Philippi was just one example of Paul being physically knocked around byA opponents to the Gospel. Paul had obviously grabbed hold of Jesusa€™ words in John 16:33, because heA overcame everything Satan ever tried to use against him.


Forty stripeshe may give him, and not exceeda€¦.a€?A This was one of the most vicious treatments of the ancient world.
And when these two words are joined together, they depict a very powerful picture!A Imagine an archer who takes his bow and arrows to the field for target practice.
The tortured persona€™s clothing was completely removed so he appeared before his persecutors naked. Then the torturer would begin to lash the prisonera€™s bare body with a whip made of three long cords, one from calf hide and the other two from donkey hide.A Pieces of glass, bone, and metal were often attached to the end of the cords to make the lashing more memorable.
The torturer would hit so hard that the pieces of glass, bone, and metal would lodge into the victima€™s skin.
This pictures the meaning of the Greek word huperballo.A Paula€™s use of this word tells us that he was beaten way beyond the range of what we could evenA begin to imagine. Then as the cords were jerked backward for the next lash of the whip, those pieces of glass, bone, and metal would rip out significant amounts of flesh. They were cruel, severe, merciless acts of brutality.A What Paula€™s enemies did to his body wasA way over the top! If the whip was made of three cords and Paul received thirty-nineA lashes each time, this means he received 117 lashes at each beating!
But Paul never allowed even these acts of physical brutality to affect his commitment to the task God had given him.A YouA must be more determined than the forces that will try to come against you.
And he went through this gruelingA exercise on five different occasions, which means 585 lashes were laid across Paula€™s upper chest,A face, back, buttocks, and legs.
But I do pray that you make upA your mind to be tougher than anything the devil ever tries to throw in your direction. It describes a place of custody, a prison ward, or a place heavily guarded by keepers and watchmen. Such a prison was usually a small, dark chamber in which the most hardened, dangerous, and menacing prisoners were confined. Ia€™m sure it isna€™t a beating of thirty-nine lashes, yet it may still seem overpowering and overwhelming to you. But if going to jail meant that Paul would accomplish his apostolic calling along the way, that was what he was willing to do.


Paul was ready to undergo any inconvenience, pay any price, and go to all lengths to do what God had commissioned him to do. I am so sorry for the times Ia€™ve allowed my flesh to whine and complain when IA should have been digging in my heels and latching on to the power of the Holy Spirit. They are the thoughts of a man who faced the prospect of death almost on a daily basis.A Paul never sought to live under this constant threat of murder or execution. But rather than run and hide from imminent danger, he faced it bravely and kept moving forward to do what he was called to do.A Had Paul been less committed, it would have taken only a few of these difficult experiences to knock him out of the race. In the power of the Spirit and in Jesusa€™ name, I am well able to stand againstA each attack, to resist every devilish scheme that comes against me, and to maintain the victoryA of Jesus Christ in every part of my life.
If you choose to take advantage of the power that is available to you, the Spirit of God will energize and lift youA to a place of victory over any obstacle the devil tries to throw in your way.
Or have you allowed your flesh to moan and groan and drag you down into the language of defeat?A 2. What scriptures can you meditate on and confess daily that will take you to a higher place of victory?
Why dona€™t you write those verses down and put them in a visible place where youa€™ll see them every day and be reminded to declare them over your life?A 3. Can you think of any people in your life who are currently struggling with the temptation to give up in the midst of difficult circumstances?
I willA successfully push beyond each attack of the enemy because the Holy Spirit is empowering me.A I dona€™t have to be a defeated victim. Therefore, the Spirit of God will energize and lift me to a place of victory overA any obstacle the devil tries to throw in my way. Was there a time in your past when you felt extremely weak, but then the Spirit of God suddenly quickened you with such divine energy that you became supernaturally strong to overcome a difficult challenge in your life? Can you verbalize the changes that occurred in you when Goda€™s power infused you with new strength?



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