Compelled By the Spirit

By Scarlett Stough


Jesus told us there is a cost to being his disciples, his followers (Luke 14:25-35). Each one must be willing to give up one's own life to find life through Christ. For some that is a life of service and hardship, but for others their physical lives were taken because of the hostility many have toward God. Following Christ is not the easy road (Matthew 7:13-14). Following Jesus takes courage and sacrifice. Each one must ask, "Is it worth it?"

The Apostle Paul decided giving up everything he had valued was worth knowing and serving Jesus.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:7-9

According to the inspired reporting done by Luke the physician, Paul, even though warned by the Holy Spirit and by those with the gift of prophecy about the danger to him of going on to Jerusalem, he felt "compelled by the Spirit" to continue the mission Jesus had assigned to him (Acts 20:22-24; 21:10-14.) He was warned of what lay ahead of him; he was urged by those who loved him to avoid returning to Jerusalem; but he chose to do the will of God and face the dangers ahead of him to continue his mission of preaching Christ to both Jew and Gentile.

While Paul was in prison, he wrote a letter to Timothy encouraging him to continue to testify about the Lord Jesus even though he would suffer for it as Paul himself had, and was suffering for it. The gospel is worth suffering to preach because of the grace God offers to those who have faith in God through Jesus the Christ. God gives the power and courage to endure.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:7-10

There are men and women who put their lives on the line for their communities and nations every day; they count their own lives insignificant in order to protect the public. All are given training and equipment to do their assigned job. But they have to bring their courage and determination as well as a self-sacrificing heart to be able to carry through the hard reality of their assignments.

Christians, too, require training (2 Timothy 3:14-17) and equipment (Ephesians 6:10-20). We also must be courageous, enduring through the hardships promised to get our responsibilities in this life done. Then we look forward to our Lord's commendation:

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
Matthew 25:21

In this parable, the individuals are Master and servant; but we are much more than servants: we are the children of God (1 John 3:1-3). We have been given a place in the family of God; our motivation is love for our heavenly Father and our brothers and sisters in Christ plus a love for our neighbors whether friend, stranger, or enemy. We can be strong and courageous by the Lord's power.


Volume 18 Issue 01 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation

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