In the 16th chapter of Acts, the apostle Paul, along with Silas, Timothy, and Luke, travel to the city of Philippi to spread the Gospel message. Before this took place, Paul had in mind to travel to Bithynia, but he was prevented by the Holy Spirit and commanded to go to Macedonia through a vision. Like Paul, sometimes we have plans, but the doors do not open for us to accomplish them. We can make plans, but it is God who ultimately directs our path (Prov. 16:9). When God directed Paul, the text tells us that he immediately sought to follow God's commands (Acts 16:10). He did not procrastinate or complain about his ruined plans. His desire to travel to Bithynia was good, but we must learn from Paul that God's commands must be followed over our desires.
After arriving in Philippi, the believers sought out those people of like mind, but there did not appear to be enough Jewish males in the city for a synagogue. Instead, the party traveled outside the city to the place of prayer where Paul explained the Gospel to Lydia and with other God-fearing women. The Gospel was accepted, and fellowship was sought (Acts 16:15). From this story, we see that both Paul's party and Lydia sought fellowship with like-minded people. We should be doing the same.
As we seek to follow God's commands and fellowship, there will be those who come against us. In those instances, we have to stand up for what is right and fight the ungodly. That is what Paul did as he was walking to the place of prayer. Having cast out the spirit from the young girl being misused by her master (Acts 16:16), Paul and Silas were dragged before the city leaders (Acts 16:19). They were unlawfully beaten and thrown in prison for doing what was right. Instead of complaining, they used their circumstances to continue to spread the Gospel in Philippi. They fought against the ungodly by preaching and singing praises to God (Acts 16:25). No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, we can do the same as those men, humbly presenting the Gospel. This is how we keep his commands and fight against the wrongs in the world.
While Paul and Silas were in prison, the ground shook and the prison door was opened. Assuming they had escaped, the prison guard prepared to take his own life, knowing that the prisoners’ punishment would be forced upon him and his family. But faithfully representing the Gospel, Paul calls out (Acts 16:26-28). With his death prevented, the guard asks of these men how he might be saved. He wanted to know more about the God that these men represented. This type of reaction presupposes that the guard had already heard about Jesus and the need to be saved. We, too, must be faithful in our representation of the Gospel. Outsiders should be wondering about the joy and peace we possess as we represent the Gospel.
Do we follow God's commands, fellowship, fight the ungodly, and faithfully represent the Gospel? Are we willing to humble ourselves for God's glory? We should be.