When we’re faced with danger, what causes us to either face it or to run? According to Wikipedia (that well-known medical source!) the fight or flight response is largely under the control of the autonomic nervous system, rather than conscious choice. People are often surprised by their own bravery (or lack of it!). They just ‘do what they have to do’.
How did the early messengers of the good news work out how to respond in the face of the many dangers they faced? It seems fairly clear from the accounts in the book of Acts that what drove their actions and decisions wasn’t instinct, but what was good for the gospel. Would the spread of the gospel be helped or hindered by staying or fleeing? We see this in action in the passage today (14:1-7). Their first response to opposition was to stay even longer, preaching boldly. But then when they got word of a plot to kill them, they moved on (fled is the word used). They had in mind a plan that was much bigger. Getting the gospel out even further to the ends of the earth, and that’s what they fled to. This was God’s plan too, of course.
What drives us in what we do to share the gospel? It’s worth thinking about. Passion for the glory of God and love for those who need the grace of God in the gospel have motivated his people down through the centuries. The treasure of the good news is now in our hands, to pass on. Let’s keep doing it, without fear for our ourselves!