JULY 31, 2012
SPIRIT-DRIVEN, PART 2
“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” (Acts 20:23, NIV)
When a friend tells you that a golf course is hard, do you take it as a sign to stay away or a challenge to be met? I
know golfers on both sides of that fence! And yet all of them will tell you that if they really want to improve their game and compete at a higher level, they are going to have to start playing those
I wonder if that’s the way we approach the course God has laid before us in our lives.
Do we back away, thinking maybe this isn’t the Lord’s voice after all? Certainly he wouldn’t want
a life of difficulty for me.
Or do we take his insight as a preparatory warning, part of our equipping to go forward against the tide? I’m glad he is letting me in on this now, so that I am not discouraged when the troubles come.
You don’t have to be a theological master to recognize the response of the apostle Paul to the leading of the
Holy Spirit in our Acts 20 passage. Pointed by the Spirit toward Jerusalem, Paul was nevertheless warned that real difficulty lay ahead for him. Along the way, in Caesarea, a prophet named Agabus came
and demonstrated the binding that Paul would face when taken captive in Jerusalem. Paul’s friends feared this prophecy for his sake and pleaded with him not to go on. The apostle’s response
was adamant: “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13).
What Paul was doing here demonstrated not only his willingness to hear the voice of the Lord, but also his readiness to
respond no matter the challenges that awaited him. Jesus had taught, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Paul was not
looking back. And thus he was fit for kingdom service.
The lesson in this account begs two questions for each of us:
1. Are we being led by the Holy Spirit? We want to be listening for his guidance. And we want to be sure that what we
are hearing is neither the voice of self nor the voice of the enemy. Check the leading you receive against Scripture. Confirm it in prayer. (As tempting as it is to add here the idea that we should check
what we think is the Spirit’s leading with the counsel of trusted believers, this is not an absolute confirmation. Paul’s friends tried to talk him out of what the Spirit had for him.)
2. Are we willing to follow the Spirit’s lead? There may be trials ahead on the path God has laid out for you.
There will certainly be newness. We must go forward according to the Spirit’s leading in spite of fears and warnings. We live in a world now where we must frequently sign waivers against the
inherent risks of almost any endeavor. Will we do the same with God’s Spirit when he calls? Will we dare to walk with him, for our sake and his glory?
July 31, 2012
Copyright 2012 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.