“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 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
Ever feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Like you’re stuck in a never ending season with no way out. I have, multiple times. It’s like walking through life blind folded, it’s dark and it’s lonely. It’s in these times of life that we have to decide if we truly trust God or not. Is God who he says He is or is He not?
The scripture above was recently brought to my attention and it really spoke to me. Paul was going through a season of uncertainty. “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” Paul was living on blind faith, he didn’t know what he was doing but he trusted that God did. His life was Spririt-led not self-led. He heard God tell him to do something, and he did it! He didn’t know all the details, there was no itinerary, just faith.
What is leading your life and your decisions? Are you being led by emotions, the opinions of others, fear, or are you choosing daily to be led by God? I say choosing because it is a choice, and it has to be made daily. I often worry about things I can’t control, but I’m in a season of learning to say “No this is God’s, not mine, have Your way. Forgive me for not trusting you and help me to trust you more.” It’s a choice I have to make, I can choose to worry myself sick or I can give it to God. When I do this I’m choosing to be Spirit led, rather than be led by my own desires and opinions. Is it always easy? Nope, I wish it was, but every time I choose God’s way I take a step in the right direction. Baby steps lead to stronger, wider steps. These steps lead to growth.
Unfortunately the Spirit wasn’t leading Paul to Disney World, but “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Sounds like a blast, sign me up! The world we live in is full of sin, and because of this we will also face hardships. Paul realized this, he knew it would be tough. The Holy Spirit even warned him of this. He was prepared, the circumstances of his life had prepared him for this. Satan will come against you when you’re in the will of God. So be prepared, and be aware that opposition is coming. But God had already to won the battle, so stay strong. Your weakness gives God more room to move.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:10
Next Paul says “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me”. Serving God was more important to Paul than his own life. He was completely sold out to God. A life without God wasn’t a life he wanted to live. Are you willing to trade your life for the life God has for you? Are you willing to lay it all down and walk away? Paul was! It is impossible to stay God centered when you’re not willing to give it all to God. Withholding areas of your life from God shows a lack of trust in Him and His goodness. I often do this myself, I have to remind myself that God loves me and He going to replace what I want with something even better than I could have imagined. Or maybe He’ll give me what I want but in His own timing. God’s silence isn’t always a “no”, sometimes it’s simply a “not yet”. But don’t forget that he always has your best interests in mind.
Paul kept his eyes on the finish line ,” my only aim is to finish the race”. He knows that good is going to come from his circumstances, because he understands the calling God had on his life. He trusted that despite the present and the past God was going to make something good out of his future. He stayed focused. How often do we lose focus on temporary things and push aside the eternal? Probably a lot more than we even realize.
He also held onto his purpose, “complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” He knew that his calling was to share the gospel to the world around him. He walked in his calling confidently, he knew how much he meant to God and he sought out to make sure others knew how much God loved them too. As Christians our ultimate goal in life is to share the gospel with the people around us. If we confess Jesus as our Savior then we are called to the ministry. We don’t need a ministry title, job or certification to be called to ministry it’s who we are. Paul himself murdered Christians before coming to know Christ, I’m pretty sure murder will keep you out of seminary and Bible college. But God’s grace was far greater than his past, and God’s plan for Paul was above and beyond what he imagined. Don’t let your past determine your future, if God has forgiven you then you need to forgive yourself. Don’t limit God and what he can do through you. Who knows what you’re missing out on!
So press on dear brothers and sisters and fight the good fight. He hasn’t brought you all this way to abandon you. Trust Him.
- Listen to the Spirit, and don’t be afraid to follow it into the unknown.
- Be on the look out for the enemy, and know that God has already won.
- Put God first in everything you do, seek His will above all else.
- Keep your eyes on your Savior and the amazing plans He has for you.
- Share the good news with everyone you come in contact with so that others may find freedom as well.