Fear hinders your potential for God and robs your joy. It can ruin your family, friendships, and relationship with God. It always masquerades as something else -- as extreme caution, timidity, insecurity, a lack of confidence, or procrastination. Do you live in fear? If you are constantly afraid, then you may be living behind bars more powerful than steel.
Paul -- along with many other Biblical heroes -- discovered the antidote to fear: faith in Christ! In other words, when you realize that God is in total control of your life, fear will be banished, for "perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18). In Acts 18:1-17, we see how God strengthened Paul at a time when discouragement could have defeated him.
"When you realize that God is in total control of your life, fear will be banished, for 'perfect love drives out fear'."
First, God provided Paul with godly friends. Aquila and Priscilla came to Corinth from Rome because the Emperor Claudius made a declaration that all Jews, whether they were Christian Jews or not, must leave the city of Rome. By God's providence, they ended up in Corinth -- at the same time as Paul.
Second, God blessed Paul's faithfulness. Despite the havoc that ensued following his uncompromised preaching of the Gospel and its reception from the hard hearts of the Corinthian crowd, God sustained Paul and blessed his faithfulness as a Jewish leader and his family came to Christ.
Third, God fellowshipped with Paul personally in a very special way, speaking to him in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city" (Acts 18:9-10). God made it clear that Paul would fulfill His purpose in Corinth and that there were many people to be won to Christ in this city.
Finally, God frustrated the enemy's plan to thwart the spread of the Gospel (see Acts 18:12-17). The Jews took Paul before the proconsul to have him decree it unlawful for Paul to proclaim the Gospel. But instead of having a landmark decision to stop the Great Commission throughout the Roman Empire, what did the proconsul do? Gallio, who was known for his acute sense of justice, dismissed the case.
Just as God ministered to Paul in Corinth, He will minister to you in your trials as you are faithful to Him. When you desire to honor and serve God, He will provide for your every need. When your life's goal is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, God will always minister to you.
Prayer: God, thank You for Your lovingkindness to me and the ways you minister to me as I seek to do Your will. Help me to rest in You and to see the encouragement You bring to me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).