“Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia”
Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia
After his brief fifteen-day visit to Jerusalem, Paul went to the “regions of Syria and Cilicia.” He left Jerusalem because of persecution (Acts 9:29-30). Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. It always costs something to follow the Lord.
Tarsus, Paul’s hometown, was in Cilicia. He stayed in Tarsus for at least six years until Barnabas asked him to come to Antioch in Syria (Acts 11:20–26). He may have needed experience in the local church in Tarsus.
Paul had now been a Christian for at least nine years. God waited nine years before He used him in Antioch. Paul needed to go through God’s training time. Paul did not become a missionary until after an extended time in Syria, Cilicia, and Antioch. Some people are in a hurry to minister, so they take shortcuts into ministry. God has a timetable for our ministry. We must wait on His time.
Antioch of Syria was the city where they launched the first missionary expedition (Acts 13:1–3). Since Paul was far from Jerusalem, he did not have sustained contact with the leaders there.
God has His own timing for our ministry.
Do you chafe at the bit, wondering why God does not use you more? Are you waiting for God’s timing? God is in the process of preparing you to serve Him. This takes time. He wants to reveal what you’re made of, so you must go through certain tests to determine whether your character can stand up.