The principle from Paul’s suffering in Acts 21:27-40 can be summed up by the following statement: Even though one is following the Lord’s will, it doesn’t mean that the road won’t be bumpy and that everyone else will get in line with how you’re seeking to obey Christ. Nor does it mean that the sea will part so that you can walk through easily and leave those standing in your way gasping for air in your wake. Thus, we can’t automatically assume that hindrance to seeking to honor the Lord means that what you’re doing is misguided and needs to be abandoned.
That being said, there are many instances in which things we are seeking and pursuing should be abandoned because they are about our own glory or our own comfort or coddling our own fears. We can identify what those things are because they prevent us from following God’s will and they keep us from increasingly pursuing Christ. They involve personal decisions that promote ourselves or protect ourselves and in the Lord’s kindness he hinders believers from accomplishing those self-centered desires. Therefore, those things need to be forsaken immediately and comprehensively.
But what about when we are trying to minister to a friend or family member and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and, in fact, they seem to be moving into more deception and yet the Lord continues to bring them across your path? Or what about when you’re trying to increase your faithfulness to Christ in a certain area and a trial comes into your life?–“Well, I guess I’m going to have to put honoring Christ on hold for a while until I can achieve a certain comfort level in my circumstances. I need to be able to see some light at the end of tunnel before I can continue to walk by faith.” That is missing it entirely!
We must understand that God works THROUGH the difficulties in order to accomplish his will in and through us. How do you know that God hasn’t ordained to use your godly response to the apathy or hostility of someone else, in order to demonstrate the power of the grace of Christ in a sinners’ life? Along the same lines, what if it’s your Christ-centered response to a trial that God has planned to use to confront a sinner’s self-exalting life?
It’s those considerations that must lead us to completely forsake the idea that God only works APART FROM the difficulties in our lives.