". . . sent out by the Holy Spirit, . . ." Acts 13:4
The climate of the early church was one of upheaval. New things were being birthed. As a result, there were growing pains, the pressure to perform, pressure to survive, pressure to continue the ministry of Jesus, it was a tough time. Tough, because there were external critics. Tough, because there was internal strife amongst the apostles. There were varying theologies about faith.
Paul brought the message of shocking, radical, ridiculous, flamboyant grace into the atmosphere of the church. He belittled all the laws, ceremonies, and sacraments. He proclaimed the God of grace was greater than all the religious ideas combined. It's not of works, lest anyone should boast. Nothing glorifies, but the cross.
Christianity is growing in unlikely places, among unlikely people. Antioch was incredible, full of wondrous works of salvation, it was also filled with controversy. Antioch was made up of non-Jewish believers. It was disturbing to the believing Jews. Some were offended and fell away, relapsed back into the shadows of their old covenant ways.
God stuck it out. His Spirit continued to work in the lives of those who sought Him. How we need to remember this today. God sticks with us no matter what. He's with us through the good times, through the bad times, through all our ups and downs. Thank God He is with us on the mountain tops and in the valleys. When everybody leaves us, thank God He sticks with us. He stood with you, in loneliness and in times of attack. To God be the glory.
Our faithfulness to God is not quite so faithful. Many are fit for the fun of following God, but not fit for the fight. We want to win without the work. We want to taste the victory, but don't want to be inconvenienced. We want to be committed without controversy. We want the payoff of His presence, without having to seek Him while He can be found.
Is there any place in your life where you've quit on God?