But, the part that jumped out to me as we were reading is at the very end of Chapter 13. Those Jews who were jealous, incited others in their anger. "They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabus." They also kicked them out of the city (v. 50). Not quite the way I would have written the ending if I had been writing the story. I don't know about you, but if I had been Paul and Barnabus, and I had been doing what God called me to do and I ended up getting kicked out of a city, I would have been mad. Anger, hurt, disbelief and bitterness are some other dishes I may have dined on as well. But the Bible says that they "shook the dust from their feet" and went on. They actually headed for Iconium which was their next stop. Verse 52 says, they "were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." When they arrived in Iconium, chapter 14 tells us that "a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed".
Wow! I think if those guys had chosen to dine on anger, hurt and feelings of disbelief, they wouldn't have had room for their hearts to be filled with the joy of the Lord. They shook off the dust and left their hurt feelings there in the road. I know when I'm hurt or a situation comes into my life that leaves me reaching for bitterness and self pity, all I can think about is that thing that stung me. So I was encouraged to empty myself (with the Lord's help) of all the junk that keeps me from being filled with His joy. I want to be able to shake off the dust and not have it cling to me as I head out on my next journey. I want to be able to walk onto my next stop and not be hindered by what happened yesterday. But I've got to make room for His joy. The junk in me that fills me up must go so there is room for what He wants to pour into me. My Iconium is waiting and God has people there and situations that He wants to use me in...I can only accomplish what He has for me if I'm filled with His joy and power.
Excuse me, while I go take out the trash. :)