Links Daily Devotional

Spirit-Driven, Part 1

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” (Acts 20:22, NIV)

Without a doubt, some things are far better left unsaid when you’re talking to friends or colleagues who don’t know the ways of the Lord. If you want to provoke a chorus of gulps on the first tee, show up and tell your agnostic golf buddies, “You know, I felt compelled by the Spirit to play golf with you today. I know it’s where God wants me to be this morning, no matter what happens out here.”

At best, your partners will be nice enough to hold their mocking tongues, even if they do whisper a flabbergasted “whatever” under their breaths. And hopefully, at least one of them will still dare to talk to you during the round with words beyond, “Do you want the pin in from there?”

It’s not that we have a secret language when we follow Jesus. It’s just that some things are better left for discussion among family, so to speak. It is true that in terms of understanding God, you often just don’t get it until you get it. That’s why Paul wrote that the message of the cross of Christ is foolishness to those who do not believe (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Still, among ourselves, we should speak openly of all that God does in us.

In Acts 20, Paul was leaving his beloved friends in Ephesus. The consensus among them was that they would never see each other again in this life, so the parting was more sorrow than sweet. But Paul wanted to emphasize that the calling of God trumps even the best friendships, so he made certain to explain to them that his moving on to Jerusalem was what God had directed him to do. He was, he told them, “compelled by the Spirit.”

This was no surprise concept to the Ephesian elders. They knew just what Paul was saying, even though it was hard to let him go. They would not stand in the way of the Holy Spirit.

This New Testament account begs two powerful questions for us today. First, would we stand between a friend and their calling by the Holy Spirit? And second—more critically for each one of us—have we ever even heard for ourselves a compelling word from the Spirit?

We are, we know, supposed to be led by the Spirit: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Yet open conversation among followers of Christ doesn’t often include discussion about how to be led by the Spirit, and what it means to follow that leading. It seems that the Spirit’s work in Jesus’ people is as unnerving sometimes to us as it is to our unchurched friends. We’ll spend some time this week considering why this is so.

Jeff Hopper

July 30, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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