I must confess, I really enjoy going to Disney World! My family has made the trek to visit the magical mouse on multiple occasions. I would even go so far as to say, we are Disney people. All right, there – I admit it. We have made many wonderful memories as a family on these vacations. For us, it never gets old when we drive into Orlando and pass through the arched gate welcoming us to the magic. We honk the horn and scream with excitement because we finally made it.
For us, the excitement is more than the six hour car drive finally being over. We have planned and saved for months leading up to this experience and it finally has come.
I’m not encouraging you to be a Disney family. But you likely have similar joy when you arrive at your favorite national park or cross the bridge of a bay and begin to smell the salty air of your beach spot. The point is you can relate to the emotion of finally arriving at your long anticipated destination.
What is this all about anyway? I’m really not even wanting to talk about vacation spots or offer travel tips; although, I’m happy to share thoughts on what not to do or how to save a little money. The point is to help us connect a little bit with the attitude of Paul when he finally walked into Rome in Acts 28.
For Paul, he first wrote of his desire to visit Rome in Acts 19. This was later affirmed by Jesus in Acts 23. But the journey for Paul was filled with challenges, roadblocks, attempted assassinations, snakebites, shipwrecks and more.
The fact that we read of him taking courage in Acts 28:15 implies that he needed it. I can only imagine the level of defeat or discouragement that he may have felt along the way. Can you relate to that? When we feel like we are doing exactly what God has called us to do, yet we continue to face one battle after another, how can we not give up.
For Paul I see two critical components at play. First he realized the importance of a faith family. In Acts 28 he specifically receives encouragement from the Christians in Rome. Throughout his journey it was the elders in Asia or other believers he met at just the right time. The bottom line is that he could not do it on his own, and neither can we.
We are built for relationships and for community. There is power when we live out Galatians 6:1-2 and the challenge to carry each other’s burdens. Small groups, LifeGroups, accountability partners, and more help to create environments for this to take place.
Furthermore, Paul understood who was ultimately in charge. He knew that simply leaning on a friend’s shoulder was not sufficient either. Ultimately, it was a matter of leaning on Christ and trusting Him. 1 Corinthians 15:31 describes his commitment to submit daily to the Lordship of King Jesus.
What does this look like in your prayer life and how does it impact your decision making? I know you would like to celebrate this journey of life and the ultimate destination of glory in heaven. Beautifully this is not dependent on my actions and is only made possible by the finished work of Christ. This journey is the sweetest when we do it with other believers under the authority of Jesus. You only really arrive when you follow Jesus!