“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20.22-24
This is one of the most inspiring verses in Scripture. It’s been with me a long time as I consider my own call and commission from the Lord. The words of the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are life to me. they enable me to continue the work that Christ has called me to accomplish.
In v.22, Paul talks about how he is “compelled” by the Spirit. Do you know what this feels like? I certainly do. Sometimes I don’t trust my “spiritual gut.” But this is exactly what this is — God is speaking to his people, softly, tenderly, but persuasively. He is actively leading his people. In this case, he lead Paul back to Jerusalem who admits that he does not know “what will happen” to him there.
Paul does not know the next steps but he has been “warned” by the Holy Spirit that “prison and hardships” are facing him. And yet he goes. He does not hesitate. Me, on the other hand, I run from danger! But the early apostles were fearless in their pursuit of spreading the Gospel and making Christ known. And yet, he moves forward because of what he believes about his call in v.24 — “I consider myself worth nothing to me….my only aim is to finish the race — complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” And what is this task? “To testify to the good news of God’s grace.”
This is what we are called to do. The agenda is the preaching of the Word of God for the redemption, salvation and regeneration of God’s people. That all might come into a saving, forgiving and grace-filled relationship with the Christ, be filled with the Holy Spirit, live in joyful obedience with God and encourage others to do the same. This is the call. This is the aim.
I am thankful that God is patient with me! Sometimes I get this right and other times I miss the aim, I miss the mark, I go astray. But thanks be to God for Jesus, and his servant Paul, who followed in obedience by showing us the way of faithful living in Christ.
“O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to be your hands and feet. To find myself willing and able to walk in obedience. Thank you for the breath I breathe, for the strength in my lungs, for the love between the Father and this son. Come now, Holy Spirit, guide and lead me into all faithfulness. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen