When he arrived and saw the wonderful things God was doing, he was filled with excitement and joy, and encouraged the believers to stay close to the Lord, whatever the cost.
Acts 11:23 TLB
I do not know if you have ever had the privilege of seeing someone come to the Lord anew. There is always this joy and gladness in the person’s heart, and also in the heart of the person who preached to him/her, or is following him/her up. However, there is also a silent fear that goes on in the heart… Will this joy last forever? Or will something happen that will cause this one to deny the Lord and turn back?
This was the dilemma that Barnabas faced as he was dispersed by the Apostles in Jerusalem to go as far as Antioch to supervise the revival that had broken out among the Gentiles in Antioch. Some brethren had gone to Antioch and started preaching the Gospel to everyone (including the Gentiles). This led to massive conversion of souls, as men turned from whatever they were facing, to face the Living God.
But Barnabas knew that there would be trouble ahead. He knew that the Christian Life was not all rosy as the new believers may be seeing it now. So, he did something, and we must also do the same….
He sat the new disciples down, and told them clearly that challenges and trials were going to come. He knew that a time would come when, out of the abundance of their trials, they would want to give up on their faith in Christ. So, he charged them to stay close to the Lord, whatever the cost.
And this is my burden for today, beloved. Have you placed a price tag on your walk with God? Have you seen yourself a few times think about the challenges you are facing, and then you wanted to give up on your walk with God?
The solution, beloved, is in a decision…. A decision to stay close to the Lord, whatever the cost.
Your decision to serve Him must not be dependent on feelings. Sometimes you may feel high and sometimes you may feel low; but like marriage, you must commit yourself to stay with Him, no matter the cost.
This was what Barnabas taught the new believers in Antioch. He and Paul (who he invited to help him with the Antioch work) taught the new believers, and in one year, they raised men who were living the way Christ wanted them to live.
AND SO? What is your decision? Even if your prayers are unanswered, have you decided to stick to Him? Even if your expectations seem to be shattered and your hopes deferred, have you found a reason to stay with Him, whatever they cost?
May the Lord help us, to commit ourselves to following Him and living for Him like these Antioch brethren did. For this alone, is what it takes to be forever chasing after God.