You ever get really excited like you want to just bolt out of your seat and take off running after you hear or read something?
Like BAM, there it is!
That’s how I felt after reading this week’s meditation scripture.
I felt like leaping after the Holy Spirit dropped some further revelation and insight on it for me and I want to share that with you.
Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. ~Acts 14:19-20 NLT
When I first read these two verses, the Holy Spirit told me to go back to the beginning of the chapter to gain the full context.
We find Paul and Barnabas, two apostles of the Lord, in Iconoium in the synagogue preaching the Word of God with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers.” (Acts 14:1, NLT)
Of course they would face opposition, as it is any time God’s word goes forth and people are won from the kingdom of darkness–the enemy’s camp–to the kingdom of Light where Christ is.
They heard that they were going to be attacked and stoned so they fled to another region, yet still continued in their mission.
They ended up in Lystra, the place we find them in our above weekly scripture, where Paul was then stoned and dragged out.
I noticed a couple of things here:
- Paul had just been stoned, i.e. a form of capital punishment where stones are thrown at a person until he/she eventually succumbs to death.
- Although they thought Paul was dead, the believers gathered around him.
In fact, it says as they gathered around him, he got up.
I have no doubt that as the believers gathered they were probably praying and maybe even worshipping.
But I was left wondering, “How does one suffer such a deadly attack, get up and then go back into the town he was just dragged out of?
When I read this, I was like:
I would like to think it was because Paul had believers gathered around him.
This is critical.
- When you are being attacked on every side, when you are going through intense suffering, when you are down and out and others may think you are dead (naturally or spiritually), who do you have gathered around you?
- Who is in your circle that can form a circle of protection around you, when you’ve been knocked down, to strengthen you and cover you until you can get back up again?
- Who is around you that will help you to get up and finish your assignment?
I’ve been talking about the importance of community recently, as I am learning how very critical and crucial this is for us as believers.
We were made for community and we need to be in community.
It’s vital for so many reasons, but one I want to highlight today is so that in those times when you are faced with opposition and being attacked, you have other believers around you who can help you get back up and continue in your assignment.
Check your circle. Look around and see who is gathered around you. Ask yourself those three questions I listed above.
Make sure you have some believers around you because it’s not a matter of if you will be attacked, but when.
You want to make sure you have the right ones around you.