Why We Should Walk Through Past Pain
When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 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. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. — Acts 14:21-23
So Paul and Barnabas hit four cities here. And based on what Luke writes, this means they travel back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. And remember, they were not treated very well in these three cities. They were chased out of two of them and stoned in one of them.
But herein lies a great lesson.
Sometimes to go forward, we have to go back. We have to go back through pain, persecution, and problems that we have tried to ignore. And this is hard sometimes. The wounds and scars run deep. But our past is always with us. It's a part of who we are. And we can try to ignore it, deny it, forget it or avoid it, but this does no one any good. And we see in this text that Paul is a tough man. He is willing to do challenging things. He is willing to encounter again those who chased him off and tried to stone him, which certainly left him emotionally and physically wounded forever.
But if he doesn't go back the way he came, then he is not strengthened, and neither are the churches. By simply showing up, his body became a witness of what he was willing to endure for Christ. And this strengthened his message and became a testimony to others of what he hoped they would endure.
Do you see the lesson?
The lesson is this. We have a choice. We can ignore our past. Or we can walk back through it. And when we walk through it in the power of the Spirit and the character of Christ, our past can become a testimony. A testimony to God's strength working through us. So fellas — be strong today. Be tough. Don't give up. And don't be afraid of your past. It does not define you. Only God defines and redefines men.
ASK THIS: Is there a past you need to walk back through? (Share below if you dare!)
DO THIS: Be tough and strong. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.
PRAY THIS: God, I need your Spirit to give me the strength to do the hard thing. To address my past. Help me to see how you use this to redefine me.
PLAY THIS: Beautiful Things.
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