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 NIV)
I must admit, composing a title for my commentary today was a bit of a challenge since a number of themes jumped out at me from these three verses. And before I finish, it’s possible that Holy Spirit will have me touch on all I saw. I submit to His leading.
First of all, we see Paul acknowledging the forewarning of danger through Holy Spirit. In the days of the prophets (those messengers of God to whom God spoke directly before the arrival of Holy Spirit). They were also warned of impending danger and spoke to the people–some of whom heard and obeyed and others who did not. In fact, there were many who took upon themselves to be prophets and did as they were bidden to do by those in charge. These were the false prophets and unfortunately, we have many among us today–those who prophesy lies according to the dictates of their flesh or the amount of money someone offers them.
But for those who are actually allowing Holy Spirit to lead and guide them in all things, Holy Spirit has been warning of impending dangers and once again–not many are listening and many more are choosing to ignore. When Holy Spirit spirit speaks, people should respect His voice more than E. F. Hutton and listen–closely and obey. He will never lead us astray, but there have been some who listened to E. F. Hutton and we hear from him, no more. I wonder why.
Then, we have those who claim that Holy Spirit speaks to them and we know by what they say and do, they lie. Holy Spirit will never speak on His own, but only those things given to Him and all that He says, will align with The Word. This doesn’t mean that He’ll speak to us in the King’s English–that would be ludicrous unless we lived in England. No, Holy Spirit will speak to us in a language we understand and speak so that no confusion will exist. And though what He speaks may not be The Word–verbatim, the intent and principles will never change. Depending on where we are in our relationship with God, He may have to “paraphrase” The Word in order for us to understand it. In other words, He’ll break it down to the lowest common denominator so we cannot say, we did not understand.
Considering the importance of Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of Believers, I don’t understand why there aren’t more people saved and filled with His Spirit, living in right relationship with God. I can only surmise that the ridicule that accompanies anyone proclaiming God speaks to them, is justification for many to either ignore His warnings or they choose to keep silent. Neither is a good idea since we are all called to be “watchmen” and it is the responsibility of the watchmen to warn the people of impending danger. It is the responsibility of the people to act on the warning and when they don’t, whatever happens is on them, not those who were courageous enough to warn.
Knowing what lay ahead of him, Paul chose to keep going–to keep testifying of God’s grace–in order to fulfill the calling on his life. Do we have the same boldness to keep going–knowing that ridicule and persecution lie ahead of us? Knowing that not all will receive what we have to say? Knowing that every time we write a blog or respond to an article containing controversial content, we will be attacked by those influenced by the enemy? Knowing that the enemy seeks to engage us in meaningless conversation to keep us distracted from our mission? Are we bold enough to continue the race set before us and testify of God’s goodness in spite of the naysayers and the doubters?
If our answer to any of the questions is “yes” then we have a testimony about how God changed us and put us back on the path He had established for us. Let’s share the testimony with all who will hear and watch as we see The Word come alive for we are told, “we have overcome (the enemy’s ploys to destroy us) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”
Whatever our testimony is–the change from what we were doing in opposition to God’s Word to living according to His Word– it is what people need to hear. We have the power within to know who needs our testimony in order for them to be overcomers and if we listen to Holy Spirit, He will indeed direct our footsteps, and govern our tongues so souls will come to Christ!