“But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
In this passage in Acts we see Paul and Barnabas rejected for speaking the Gospel of Christ. They were literally thrown out and persecution was stirred up against them. Talk about drama.
They shook the dust off their feet as Jesus had instructed his disciples during his time of earthly ministry (see Matthew 10:14), and they moved on to the next place of ministry God had for them. Here’s the part that really blows my mind. The very next verse says that they were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
The difficulties I have in my life from time to time seem minuscule compared to the persecution Paul and Barnabas were facing, but as much as I wish I could say otherwise, filled with joy is not usually my response to rejection and drama. Typically, I get my feelings hurt and let it eat at me. Fear of what other people are thinking or saying about me consumes me and shame overwhelms me. I recognize that’s not the healthy approach by any means, but how is one able to truly just shake it off?
The Common English Bible translation of Acts 13:52 says it this way, “Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the disciples were overflowing with happiness.” It’s because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit. Here’s the good news…we have that same access to the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit.
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary of that same verse explains that the Holy Ghost has the power to raise us above shame and fear and fill us with holy and elevated emotions. The Living Word of God instructs us numerous times to fear not and reminds us that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:1).
By handing over the reigns of our emotions to the Spirit of the Living God, we too can be raised above shame and fear to holy and elevated emotions. We too can shake the dust off our feet and keep moving forward in the task God has put before us because we know there is so much more at stake than if we quit and stay stuck in our rejection. We don’t seek the approval of people, we seek the approval of God. So we keep moving. And the result…A spirit of joy and an abundant life.
Spirit of the Living God, Fill my soul. Consume me, Lord. You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I refuse to allow fear and shame to control me, even in the midst of pain and rejection. Raise me above it, Lord, to holy and elevated emotions. When drama gets stirred up in my life, help me to shake it off like the dust off the disciples feet and move on. Fill me with your joy. Thank you Lord, that we can confidently call on you to do so. I love you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.