First published in the Dugger Post, June 8, 1988

(Gleaned from the Words of Life News Vol. 28, No. 6 – November/December 2021)


     Early Christians were people just like us. Acts 21:14 reads, “When he (Paul) would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, ‘The Lord’s Will be done.’ “

Sounds like our approach to fixing things; “When all else fails, read the instructions.” Sometimes Christians react before thinking.

In the context of Acts 21, the Apostle Paul was completing his third missionary journey, a lengthy circuit spanning years visiting and encouraging groups of Christians. He was returning to Jerusalem knowing that he would face serious difficulties. In Acts 20:22-24 Paul says God pre-pared him to expect bonds and afflictions. Paul’s mind set is given in Philippians 3:7-16.

     Paul’s Christian family cared about his personal safety and about his continued witnessing to the gospel. He was the most effective evangelist for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus Acts 21:12 expresses their concern for Paul and the value placed on his service; “We pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.”

     To their plea Paul responded in verse thirteen, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” He was committed. The Will of God must have first place in the daily lives of all His people. They understood, and accepted.

Yielding to the Will of God includes seeking His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). That focus reminds Christians to let him have His way and to trust Him in all of life, even unto death.

     In the emotion of the moment Paul’s Christian family forgot that God was in control and knew what He was doing. Now, Controlling their emotions and thinking clearly, they affirmed their faith. “God’s Will be done.” It is easy to lose sight of the Will of God when facing sudden difficulties. Paul’s Christian family saw danger and the possible loss of a good man. They walked by sight and could not imagine Jerusalem being the first step toward Paul evangelizing in Rome. It took Paul’s loyalty oath – “I am willing to die” – to jolt them back to their faith.

     That is our cue. The most important understanding for every Christian is, “The Will of God must maintain first place in my heart and in my mind and in my life.” Think about this. We are like them. In emergencies we tend to react by sight to the practical, the obvious. We yield to the Will of God after being reminded that God is omniscient. He sees the end from the beginning.

     Forgetting to let God lead, began in the Garden of Eden and continues today. We often act without letting our faith guide us. That is an act of free will! Later, we ask God to bless our decisions. The Bible is God’s inspired word. It has never been wrong. Never! If you are an obedient child of God, His word will guide you, His promises will sustain you and He will use you to witness to His saving grace. Count on it!

     While waiting for His return, spend time in His Word. Make the effort to grow in spiritual understanding. Be able to recognize the devil’s methods and understand his intention to destroy us. Paul obeyed God, letting Him take care of the future. His confidence was in God’s loving care and in His sovereign power to direct the affairs of men. We have the same sovereign Lord Jesus who loves and cares for us. Our comfort and confidence and Blessed Hope come from the promises of God.

     Examine Philippians 3:14. Note the singular obsession in Paul’s confession, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” The prize is our Blessed Hope. We long for Eternity in the presence of Jesus, where righteousness dwells Revelation 21:1-7.

     Several questions are important for every Christian, every day. We do well to consider them. Are you witnessing to His saving grace each day while watching for His coming? Are you worshipping Him according to His word? Are you an obedient follower of Jesus? Are you ready to meet Jesus? If not, should you examine yourself according to II Corinthians 13:5?

     May the grace of God encourage your spirit as you wait His coming. Amen. Even so, Come Lord Jesus!


   Buford Smith is a retired Church of Christ Minister in the Dugger/Linton, IN, area.