We All Face Challenges

We all face challenges in life, and our challenges don’t get any easier as we go through life.

This was certainly the case with the Apostle Paul, but Paul stayed committed to God in spite of all the challenges.

Think of the challenges he faced as he set off with Barnabas on what we know as the First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:1-14:26). The Holy Spirit spoke to the church telling the church to set apart Paul and Barnabas for the work He wanted them to do (Acts 13:1-3).

The church obeyed, prayed over these missionaries, and sent them off. Neither they nor the church knew what they were going to face along the way. They faced challenge after challenge but never wavered in their commitment toward God.

Here are four of the challenges they faced. We face these same challenges.

First, they faced the challenge of unity. This is a relationship issue.

Not long into the journey John Mark either left or deserted the group. No one can know why he left. Was he offended that the missionary team turned toward uncircumcised pagans? Did he object to Paul taking the lead over his cousin Barnabas? Or, was he simply homesick? Whatever the issue, this created a unity issue between Paul and Barnabas that can only be explained as strained and very difficult.

The church through the centuries has faced the issue of unity. All of our churches contend with the same kind of struggle.

Second, they faced the challenge of who can be saved. This is a theological issue.

By the end of the first journey, the church faced the serious issue of who is a prospect for the Christian faith. Acts 15–The Jerusalem Council–called the church to ask: can a gentile become a Christian without becoming a Jew first?

Third, they faced the challenge of urbanization. This is a strategy issue.

Paul’s strategy was to go to the urban areas and win souls and plant churches that would then take the gospel to the countryside. We face this same issue. A huge percentage of the American population resides in and near the major cities. Will we reach these multitudes? Can we take the gospel to the cities? These remain our challenges.

Four, the challenge of “Who’s in charge?” This is a Lordship issue>

In reality, all of our challenges have to do with Lordship. Who will we follow? Will we give our all to God?

This was the issue for Barnabas, Paul, and John Mark. It is your issue and mine. Will we follow God and put Him over all of life or will we make ourselves our God?

By the way, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark passed the test.

What about you?

One Comment

  1. Kathy lovecchio
    May 01, 2018

    Thank you for reminding me that GOD IS IN CHARGE!!!

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[Ask, Seek, Knock] “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. — Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)