Where there is great victory, you can be certain there will be great difficulties. The Apostle Paul had spent 12 weeks teaching and preaching before the Jewish people in the Ephesian synagogue. Week after week they allowed him to return, so he must have been doing something right. He appeared to be making progress in his efforts to persuade the people of the truth concerning Jesus Christ. Then some troublemakers ruined everything. A group of unbelievers stood up and publicly denounced Paul’s teachings. After all of his efforts, Paul’s ministry had come to a screeching halt . . . or so it seemed.

I admire Paul because he had an indomitable spirit. He let nothing — and I mean nothing — stop him from doing what Christ had called him to do. After the initial setback, Paul left the synagogue and taught in the school of Tyrannus. Here he met with even greater success than he had in the synagogue. For the next two years, God used the school of Tyrannus as a platform from which Paul reached all of Asia with the gospel.

Life is never easy coasting; neither is ministry. Everywhere we serve the Lord there will be problems and hardships. But no matter how bad things get, we serve and trust a God who has overcome. Like Paul, we must determine to press forward in spite of the obstacles, knowing God can use them to accomplish an even greater purpose through us.

Are you discouraged because you have experienced setbacks in your life or ministry? You have taken some steps forward, only to falter yet again. Perhaps a neighbor has falsely accused you and damaged your reputation in the community. Maybe someone at your church has tried to attack your character through a whispering campaign. A health condition has sidelined you for a few weeks. You have been unsuccessful in your attempts at growing your Bible study or small group. Take heart and don’t lose sight of your calling, for God can demonstrate His power through your perseverance.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.