A Clay Jar

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7 NIV)

We Must Go Through Many Hardships – Acts 14:22

They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Acts 14:21-22 NIV

At the end of Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary trip, they returned to many of the cities they had earlier preached in. And their message to them was one that is quite different than what we might hope for. And at odds with what is sometimes preached today. We want to believe that if we are following Jesus, our lives will be trouble-free. That he will provide for all of our wants and needs. And that he will defend us from any attack. And some would go so far as to teach that God wants us all to be physically prosperous and healthy.

Through Many Hardships

But the message of Paul and Barnabas is at odds with that. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Rather than life being a bed of roses, it may actually be worse. As followers of Christ, we live in a world that is by and large antagonistic toward him. And Jesus warned us that the world would react to us the same way they react to him (John 15:18-20). Trouble should be expected. In fact, you should be concerned if you do not suffer for Christ (Phil. 1:29, 2 Tim. 3:12). But be encouraged to remain true to the faith. In the end, your reward will be great.

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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