“Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples… And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God…
“From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. He said, ‘You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials..; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Now I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God… For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God… For three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up…’ He knelt down and prayed with them all… ‘I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” Acts 19:1,8; 20:17-24,27,31-32,36; 21:13
Paul was a man on a mission, but he certainly had good reason to give up. Wherever he preached he met opposition, even threatened death. But a child of God with holy fire cannot be quenched, no matter the forces against him. And shrink he did not, he would not. Compared with the value of his life, the surpassing greatness of Jesus, and knowing Him, won, and this he was constrained to proclaim. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Philippians 3:7-9)
Paul did not shrink from argument, because he knew the truth. He could debate and explain since he not only understood the gospel and its grace, applied and appropriated personally, but had the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
Paul did not shrink from difficulty, because the gospel message was more vital and valuable than comfort and ease. Persecution, difficulties, and suffering only served to press him to know his Lord better, and to experience and display His strength and power. (2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 11:23-30; 12:9-10)
Paul did not shrink from building up the churches he had planted and loved as his own children. He knew they faced temptation, false teaching, and spiritual attack, and so nutured them with needed ongoing encouragement. The Spirit continually led and constrained him to admonish, teach, pray for, and strive with the churches, with great love and passion. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
What discomfort or challenges cause us to succomb to fear, sloth, or complacency, and shrink from our heavenly call? Whom has the Lord given us to teach, upbuild, or disciple, no matter the cost?