Let us now consider a quote from Paul that is recorded in Acts 20:24 - "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." Over the next several days, we will consider different parts of this verse and glean as much truth from it as we can.
Paul began by stating: "None of these things move me". To what things was he referring? He was referring to the chains and tribulations mentioned in the prior verse. In spite of the fact that Paul knew he would be persecuted when he returned to Jerusalem, he wasn't afraid. He would not be moved from his mission because of persecution. Fear wasn't about to keep Paul away from Jerusalem or cause him to stop preaching the gospel boldly to all men. Fear was not a motivator for Paul to stop serving the Lord, although it could have been. Paul could have said: "Well, Lord, I'm willing to preach the gospel as long as I'm not in any personal danger."
How many in the first century actually made comments to this effect? We will never know, but we can deduce that there were some Christians who were motivated by fear to give up their faith or to blaspheme God's holy name. In fact, the apostle himself used to punish Christians, and he "compelled them to blaspheme" (Acts 26:11). The only way Christians could be compelled to blaspheme is if they were afraid of what might happen to them or a loved one physically if they didn't! But, did they ever stop to think of what would happen to them if they blasphemed their Lord and Savior? These weak Christians were evidently fearful of some man-made torture they might have to endure if they didn't blaspheme their God. But, did they ever stop to think of the torture they would endure if they didn't repent of their blasphemy? God has clearly said that those who are cowardly and fearful will not have a home in heaven but in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). These Christians, instead of forsaking their Lord out of fear, should have taken comfort in His words in Matthew 10:28 - "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Paul wasn't motivated by fear to stop serving the Lord. Sadly, some Christians were, and some Christians still are today. It is my hope that fear of persecution or rejection will never cause you to abandon or compromise your faith. May God's children always remember that "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7). May His faithful followers boldly say - "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Heb. 13:6). Let us courageously say with Paul when faced with challenges - "None of these things move me" (Acts 20:24).