Paul and “some other prisoners” were being transported to Rome, but they encountered many difficulties in their travels. Because sailing was so dangerous, Paul wanted to remain in a place called Fair Havens but he was overruled. “And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix . . . and spend the winter there” (Acts 27:12, ESV).

When we are going through a storm, we can lose sight of the fact that the ship we are on is a battleship. We are in a war with Satan, so we face a constant battle with the powers of darkness. That’s a good reason why we can’t afford to “spend the winter in Phoenix.”

We are doing war against an enemy who brings depression, attacks marriages, and is enslaving a new generation of teenagers to heroin, a growing problem in many cities. We have gone to war believing Christ’s glorious gospel will set captives free—that He is faithful to break the chains of those in bondage, liberate families mired in troubles, and reach the neediest with His generous love. To be in this battle, it is imperative that we keep our focus on the mission He has given us and hear His voice directing us. Our mission is always secondary; what is primary is “knowing in whom we have believed” (see 2 Timothy 1:12).

Does this speak to you? Has your ship taken precedence over Jesus in your heart? Have you become caught up in fleshly concerns, whether it’s making a good living or having a successful ministry? Neither is God’s high calling for you. Don’t misunderstand: He doesn’t want you to stop working hard or serving with devotion. Yet, could He be speaking to you right now about what is most important in your heart?

If you have been spending your winters in Phoenix, He is calling you back to your journey to Rome. Set aside everything that keeps you from being “on a mission for Jesus.”