The Spiritual Formation Bible comments that “the book of Acts contributes to one of the most interesting spiritual biographies in Christian history.” That biography is the story of Paul. In Acts 20, we pick up Paul’s journey at the end of his stay in Ephesus. Paul has been preaching in Ephesus for two years when his denouncing of the goddess Artemis causes a revolt of artisans who create statues of the goddess. They are worried about losing business. When the ruckus settles down, Paul heads for Macedonia and then to Greece where he stays for three months. From there he heads to Troas and Miletus where he makes the momentous decision to head to Jerusalem.
Use the questions below the following verses to help you focus on Paul’s story of being “compelled by the Holy Spirit” into an unknown, possibly dangerous situation. Pray about how that story relates to your story.
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Acts 20: 22-24 (CEB)
Now, compelled by the Spirit, I’m going to Jerusalem. I don’t know what will happen to me there. What I do know is that the Holy Spirit testifies to me from city to city that prisons and troubles await me.
1.Have you ever felt “compelled” by the Spirit? (Other translations use “bound by the spirit” or “captive in the spirit.” Contemporary Christians may claim to being “led” by the Spirit.) Is there a difference in being compelled or bound or captive or led by the Spirit?
2. Ask God if there is some collaborative act he would like you participate in with him. Ask him to make your role clear. Would you follow through on a direction from God that includes the idea that prisons and troubles await you? Pray that the fear of the unknown will not deter you from joining God.
3. Consider how Paul’s life was transformed by his interaction with Jesus and how he in turn transformed his world. Ask God to transform you in whatever way is necessary so you to can transform your world.
But nothing, not even my life, is more important than my completing my mission.
1. What mission is Paul talking about? How do we know that his mission was more important than his life?
2. What is your mission today? What mission do you think God is preparing for you in the future? Is any mission God would ask you to join more important than your life as you envision it?
This is nothing other than the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus: to testify about the good news of God’s grace.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you bring to mind instances of God’s grace in your life. Thank the Spirit for the memories.
2. Thank God for gracing your life with goodness and mercy. Commit to watching for other examples and giving thanks. Think about how the grace in your life can become a ministry to others.