Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” – Acts 14:19-21.
So Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra about the business of the kingdom. After healing a man who had been born cripple, in whom Paul had seen faith to be made well, the people sought to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods. Paul and Barnabas tore their clothes in condemnation of this act. Jews from Antioch persuaded the people so they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing him to be dead. Now the Bible tells us that Paul got up and went into the city. It says that the next day he went with Barnabas to Derbe and then returned to the city where he was stoned, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith.
How did Paul muster up the strength to go into the city where he had been stoned nearly to death? Who does that? We are told in the Word that he went back because of the believers he had been discipling, he needed to encourage and exhort them in the faith. He had concern for these souls than for his own life, because that assignment was greater. It was the point of living, he understood why he had been saved, and was living for a purpose greater than safety, seeing others safely into the kingdom. Can the Lord find this level of discipline and commitment in our world today? Can the Lord find someone who won’t just bring people into the kingdom but tend to them diligently?
We are called to discipleship, and discipleship is discipline. We are not only available to the Lord when it suits us, no. We are always on call and on duty. We are disciplined cadres in the kingdom, alert, sober–minded and most importantly available, despite our circumstances, for the kingdom’s cause. Paul believed the One who had commissioned Him, I mean he had had a face to face encounter with Him and esteemed Him worthy of his service. He went above and beyond the call of duty disciplined in the faith and living for this purpose. He was determined to inherit the promise, to enter the kingdom and he understood that there would be hardship and opposition. So he stood, fought the good fight, and finished the course, because he believed, because he had been commissioned and because faith does what needs to be done.