LIFE IN THE SPIRIT: Acts—Week 8 (Prevailing)

Acts 16:16-34; 17:22-34; 18:5-11; 19:11-20

We are in a study of the book of Acts, focusing on the Person of the Holy Spirit—a co-equal Member of the Godhead with the Father and the Son—and how He empowered, inspired, led, and molded ordinary men and women into a movement that turned the world upside down, and how He continues to do so today.  In the last two blogs, we examined the Holy Spirit’s work in the midst of persecution and how He guides us in the resolution of conflict.  This week we will be expanding upon those themes and will look at the Holy Spirit’s work in prevailing.

When we are faced with persecution or conflict, it is easy to become discouraged.  Accordingly, if you’re like me, you tend to avoid situations that might lend themselves towards persecution or conflict with others.  In fact, if I am pursuing something that I believe God has called me to do and I encounter difficulty, I am more apt to doubt God’s leading in that area than I am to embrace the struggle and press on.  I tend to assume that opposition means God is “closing the door” in that situation.  However, as we see in this week’s passages, persecution and conflict are not always evidence of God closing the door.  On the contrary, they actually may be the precursors to God doing something miraculous.  

Throughout Scripture we see a theme of God turning what the enemy means for harm into something that brings good to us and glory to Him.  Consider the story of Joseph: his brothers first conspired to murder him and then proceeded to sell him into slavery in Egypt because of their jealousy over the visions given to him by God.  Those actions led to years of slavery and imprisonment for Joseph.  Yet, Joseph’s response to their evil deeds as recorded in Gen. 50:20 was, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive as they are today.”  Similarly, in this week’s passages we see Paul and his companions face mocking, beatings, angry mobs, and even imprisonment for the cause of Christ.  Despite all this opposition and persecution, they never lose hope or doubt their calling.  And though the enemy intended those things for harm and to thwart the spread of the gospel, in each situation God used what the enemy meant for harm to further spread the gospel.

Paul expounds upon the Holy Spirit’s role in prevailing over opposition in Rom. 8.  In this pivotal chapter, we learn that it is the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness.  It is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us, and it is the Holy Spirit who is working in the hearts of men and women to flip the script on the enemy, drawing them to Christ and conforming them to His image.  Because of the Holy Spirit’s work, we are not just conquerors; we are more than conquerors!  You see, when a conqueror captures the territory of his enemy, he brings death and devastation.  Such is not the case for us.  The Holy Spirit reveals to us how God is taking all things—including the bad things—and turning them for our good and His glory.  He is taking the devastation and pain caused by the enemy and turning it into something beautiful.  We are more than conquerors because as Christ’s ambassadors, we bring the message of hope, peace, restoration, and life to those who are at war with God. No matter what opposition or conflict we face, through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us, we will prevail!    


  1. Review this week’s passages.  What opposition was faced by Paul and his companions?  How did the gospel prevail in the face of opposition?
  2. What are some other examples from Scripture of God turning conflict and difficulty into something good?  Can you think of an example of how God has done the same for you? Do you tend to see opposition as God closing the door?
  3. Review Rom. 8.  How does Paul describe the Holy Spirit’s work in prevailing?
  4. What does it mean that we are more than conquerors?  How can we exhibit this truth when faced with opposition?