April 8, 2018
1 Corinthians 16:8… But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
In one sentence Paul states 2 future determining facts:
#1. A wide door for effectual work has opened unto me
#2. There are many adversaries
What Paul didn’t say regarding #1 is that God had opened the door. As we read about Paul’s journeys in the book of Acts, we notice that God made some of the cities receptive to him and others not so much. Mostly it had to do with the disposition of the people. In some cities the people weren’t inclined to believe in Jesus or follow His teachings. God knows what was in their hearts and all He had to do was blow on the spark and fan it into flame. But #2 gives us the other side of the picture. When a person’s heart was against God, God did not overpower his will; He gave him the desires of his heart. The important revelation about #2 is that adversaries don’t mean we are to stop working. We often, mistakenly, use adversaries as a reason to quit.
I have been pondering lately about the meaning of faithfulness. I ask God whether or not I am faithful. One definition that I am toying with as I get older is… “A faithful person is not a quitter.” That works better for me than, “A faithful person does the right thing.” I have made so many mistakes and failed so often, I can’t fit the last definition. But, I can fit the first one.
And I have noticed as I have gotten older that many peers have quit. Some have reversed their lives; most have just stopped working. If someone reverses their life and turns away from God, that person is doomed. But for the millions who have stopped working because of adversaries, today’s verse is applicable. God is leading us to perfection, but He knows we can’t find it alone. He is patient and kind… Don’t quit!
When you don’t quit, you are saying, “I still believe. With every breath I take, I will proclaim the goodness of God.” I believe that wherever the word of God is preached, there will be adversaries. Don’t let that be your excuse. In a basketball game the winner is often the one who is least likely to quit early.