Tag Archives: Steadfast Faith

What Legacy Will You Leave?

The Bible is filled with individuals who honored, obeyed, and served God with unbridled passion. We learn of one such man in the book of Acts, named Apollos. Luke dedicates only a few verses to him but in that brief account a powerful and enduring legacy emerges.

Luke describes the man as “mighty in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24, NKJV). In other words, he possessed real zeal for reading and studying the Bible. But Apollos was not content with keeping God’s Word to himself. We are told that he, being “fervent in spirit, spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord.” (vs. 25). He invested his time telling others about Jesus and equipping them with a biblically sound foundation in the faith. And he did so enthusiastically.

Luke then shares a brief anecdote that reveals Apollos’ humility and thirst to learn more about Christ. After speaking boldly in the synagogue at Ephesus, two believers pulled him aside and “explained to him the way of God more accurately” (vs. 26). Apollos demonstrated a teachable spirit and readily embraced the truth the pair shared. He was not a know-it-all who believed he had all the answers.

Subsequent to this encounter, Apollos decides to travel abroad and minister to the lost and saved alike. Luke informs us, “he greatly helped those who had believed through grace [and] vigorously refuted the Pharisees publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (vs. 28). That brief but powerful passage reveals several more attributes of Apollos.

First, he assisted other believers. Luke does not provide details but makes clear that the help provided was significant. Second, he corrected those who attempted to undermine Scripture and lead others astray. Apollos displayed a real passion for preserving the integrity of God’s revealed Word. Third, he demonstrated boldness for the Lord and did not allow vocal opposition from others to diminish his public proclamation of faith. In short, Apollos was a tireless advocate for the Lord.

Though only five verses, Luke’s narrative on Apollos reveals a tremendous witness who faithfully served the Lord, did his utmost to build the church, and lived his faith in action. He was bold, mission-oriented, teachable, grounded in Scripture, fervent in his faith, and a determined expounder of the gospel – both in word and in deed.

What a legacy! Imagine the reception he will receive in heaven, not just from God but also from a multitude of believers whose lives he impacted for eternity. He certainly exhibited for us (and others) a Christ-like lifestyle and invested his time on activities with eternal value. In the process he served as a tremendous role model for those who need to see what it means to love Jesus with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength.

What legacy will you leave when you pass from this world? If someone described your life in a couple short paragraphs, what would they say? What actions, attributes, and behaviors define you? Do you demonstrate passion for unbelievers, the downcast, and the Lord? Does your conduct reveal boldness in faith, a zeal for missions, humility, or a servant’s heart? Take time this week to reflect on these questions as you consider Apollos’ example.

If your life has focused more on the world and less on God, more on the temporal and less on the spiritual, more on yourself and less on others, then consider making some changes. Remember, it’s never too late to build a new legacy that prioritizes the Lord, your faith, the church, and proclaiming the gospel in word and in deed. As you do, you may find others modeling their lives after you and following your example.

Unconditional Faith.

One of the most powerful examples of faith found in the Bible involves three young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Many of you will recall they were exiled Jews living in Babylon, along with their friend, Daniel. Over time they had distinguished themselves as leaders and were entrusted with administrative powers to manage the king’s affairs.

Eventually, the king issued an edict demanding everyone worship a statue of gold, a violation of the Lord’s command that people worship Him alone. Anyone defying the decree would face immediate death by being thrown into a fiery furnace. The declaration forced these young men to make a critical decision. Where would their loyalty lie: with God or with the king; with their faith or with their careers? Would they compromise their faith by trying to have it both ways: loving the Lord in private while publicly obeying the king’s decree?

Once the order was made public, colleagues immediately leveled accusations against the three young men. The rabble-rousers informed the king that this trio of Jewish exiles refused to obey his proclamation. Furious, the king demanded their instant obedience, taunting them with this rhetorical question: “Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (Daniel 3:15, NKJV).

The young men responded, “O king, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand” (vs. 16-17). What a bold witness. The men not only refused to obey the king, they used the encounter to testify of God and His omnipotence. Instead of destroying their faith, the king’s threat fueled it.

The three men then declared, “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (vs. 18, emphasis added). With those words the Jewish exiles removed any doubt about their commitment to God. They knew He could rescue them from the fiery furnace and the painful death that would result.

But if, for whatever reason, He chose not to, they would refrain from denying Him or serving a false god. Their faith was not predicated on God blessing them, making life easy, or protecting them in the face of danger. They trusted Him implicitly, even if doing so yielded intense pain and a brutal death. They understood that God worked in ways that did not always make sense to them and therefore would obey Him no matter the cost. What a powerful testimony.

Job possessed a similar perspective and evidenced a comparable commitment to God. His faith was not predicated on having his desires met or his agenda fulfilled. It did not ebb and flow with the tide of God’s blessings. Instead, it remained steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances he confronted, including a series of relentless and brutal attacks by Satan that left all ten of his children dead, destroyed his wealth, and weakened his health.

Yet in response to that collection of tragic events, Job didn’t shake his fist to the sky and curse God. Nor did he renounce his faith in the Lord. Instead, Scripture tells us “he fell to the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20, NKJV). What a remarkable reaction. Despite being unaware of what had precipitated the catastrophes or why God would allow them, Job instinctively placed his trust in the Lord and praised Him. He knew that out of the ash heap of overwhelming pain and tragedy God would raise up something good.

Not surprisingly, Job’s response pleased God, who subsequently described him as “a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil and still holds fast to his integrity (Job 2:3). Though obviously grieved and devastated by the news of the calamities, Job resisted the temptation to blame God. Instead, he found solace in his Creator and worshiped Him in the midst of his tears.

That response, however, shocked and angered his wife, who remarked contemptuously: “Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9, NKJV). Her statement captures the predominant view of faith in our secular society: unless faith yields immediate and lasting temporal benefits, what’s the point. Sadly, that perspective infects many churchgoers today as well. As long as the sun shines on their lives, they remain loyal to God. But the moment tragedy strikes, their faith weakens or collapses altogether.

Job provided the perfect rebuke to such faith, telling his wife: “You speak as foolish people do. Should we accept good from God but not adversity as well?” (Job 2:10). Later Job would proclaim, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15, NKJV). Job did not withhold his own life from God nor condition his obedience on understanding God’s purpose. He assented to follow, worship, and praise God irrespective of his circumstances or the condition of his life.

Do you possess a similar commitment to God? Is your faith as steadfast in the midst of painful trials and difficult circumstances as was the faith of Job? Are you willing to obey God, no matter the cost, as were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego? Confronted with a comparable choice between life and death, would you choose the Lord or your life? As our world grows increasingly hostile to God, a modern version of the scenario confronted by that trio of Jewish exiles seems more and more possible in our generation. Are you prepared to stand firm for God? I pray you are.