But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at Paul’s side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also”. Acts 23:11
Have you ever felt weak? In need of encouragement and strength? That’s exactly how Paul was feeling in this 23rd chapter of Acts. He had just been arrested again and brought before an angry crowd again. He had just been face to face again with men who would only be satisfied with his blood on their hands. Can you imagine how tiring that must have been? How overwhelming? He just wanted to live for and serve his God, and yet his enemies did everything in their power to try and make sure that didn’t happen. Maybe you can relate to Paul. Maybe you too, feel as though life is wearing you out and attacks from the enemy are coming from every side. Maybe you too, feel like you are in a constant state of survival and are desperately needing a moment just to simply catch your breath. Well, I say to you, just as the Lord said to Paul, “Take courage!”
This phrase “Take courage” in the Greek literally refers to God strengthening or propping up the believer and empowering them with a bold inner confidence and an unflinching courage. Isn’t that amazing?! Paul was in one of life’s most fragile states and the Lord, himself, came to him to encourage him. But you see, if we move too quickly through this passage we could make the mistake of thinking that Jesus came, in that moment, simply to comfort Paul. I mean, yes comfort was a part of it, but that’s not the whole of it. Friends, Jesus came not only to comfort, but to empower, strengthen and unleash into Paul all that he would need to make it through his next assignment. He came to supernaturally prop up a man who had grown weak and weary from the hell in his life. He came, stood and spoke life, confidence and courage right back into His son whom He loved with all His heart. And He did it with just two words.
Friends, what I’m trying to say is that there is power in both the presence and the Word of our God. So many times we grow so weak and discouraged and yet our actual source of strength, we treat as our last resort. There is power in His words. There is power in His presence. There is a confidence and a courage that can only come from Him and He is waiting to give it to you. His desire is to prop you up when life begins to knock you over. His desire is to literally infuse you with all you need to carry on for just a little bit longer. The question is, will you put yourself in a position to receive it? You see, we cannot underestimate the power of getting away to be alone with our Jesus. For it is there that God can supernaturally do everything it is that He wants to do. It is there we find our hope, and it is there that we renew our strength. Jesus came, stood and spoke life to Paul. He wants to do the same to you. So, steal away, get in His presence and friends, by all means, TAKE COURAGE.
Questions to Journal Through
- When is the last time you stole away to spend uninterrupted time in His presence? How did it benefit you? Or what regularly prevents you from doing so?
- Spend some time looking up the following verses and writing out and meditating about what you learn about the power of the word of God: Heb 4:12, Acts 20:32, Is 55:11, Ps. 19:7-8
- Determine to set some time aside everyday to spend in His word and in His presence. Schedule it and keep your appointment.