And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14.21, 2.
Ministers of Scotland: Lectures on Revival VI
The Rev. Alexander Cumming, Minister of Dunbarney Parish
“…pastors must therefore expect that God will bring them a succession of fiery vicissitudes if he is to bless them, by enabling them to speak a word in season to him that is weary. They must drink of the cup of which the Saviour drank, and be baptized with the baptism of which he was baptized, that they may be attuned to an ardent sympathy for the souls of men, and attain that skill by which they may alleviate their woes.”
Jesus taught us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom and to seek it as our highest priority (Matt. 6.10, 33). This requires us to pray earnestly, seeking revival and a fresh effusion of God’s Spirit, so that we might realize more of the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit which are the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18). But this is no easy road. Obtaining more of the Kingdom comes with tribulation, as Paul explained, and tribulation doesn’t always entail persecution. More often it means hard, long, frequently disappointing labors toward what you alone seem to understand as the most important things we should be doing. You will probably not experience an overwhelming and enthusiastic response to your calling the people you serve to pray for revival. But call them anyway, and begin this labor with whomever the Lord sends. We must persevere in prayer, but we must also prepare to deal with distractions, discouragements, disappointments, and difficulties of all kinds. This is the way to the Kingdom.
How do you struggle through distractions and disappointments? How would you counsel a young pastor to prepare himself for these, so that he does not become discouraged or defeated in seeking the Kingdom?
Pray for Revival
All quotations in this series are taken from Ministers of Scotland, Lectures on Revival, Richard Owen Roberts, ed. (Wheaton: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1980). Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.