During the beginnings of church history, Christians lived in risk of their own lives. Many instances in Acts record Christians being specifically threatened and the general risk that followed those who spoke of Christ.
One such persecutor was Saul, and, when he was converted, God said that he would suffer many things for His sake (Acts 9:16). What gave individuals like Paul the strength to endure despite the challenges they would meet?
Heaven and Our Motivation
This World Is Not Our Home. II Corinthians 5:1-10 explains our faith is our motivator. We have faith that we will one day be with the Lord, and this worldly existence is temporary. Hebrews 10:16 and Philippians 3:21 both speak of our home being prepared by God.
Looking for Eternal Rest. Philippians 1:21-23 acknowledges how much better Heaven will be than this world. Also, II Corinthians 4:17-18 speaks of the pains of this life as temporary and fleeting. The pains of this world will be nothing compared to the joys of Heaven.
Confidence in God’s Promises. Hebrews 6:11-19 assures the absoluteness of God’s promises, and we can look back on how God kept His promises to Abraham and many others in the Old Testament. We can’t physically see God and Heaven, but we can see what He has done for His people and for us.
How did those early Christians keep pressing on? They lived with Heaven in their view, and, if we do likewise, we can follow examples like Paul, living for Christ with confidence in the joys that will come after this life.
lesson by Tim Smelser