And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
— Acts 20:22–24
To truly understand what it means to be led by the Holy Spirit as Paul describes in this verse, I think we need to break it down.
Paul was on his way to Jerusalem to spread the gospel, constrained by the Spirit. The dictionary definition of constrained is to be compelled toward a particular course of action, implying that Paul simply couldn’t help himself. The only thing about this trip that was absolutely certain was that he would be facing imprisonment and afflictions. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a situation I would willingly walk into. However, he states that his life means nothing to him, because he is not living for himself. He lives for the Lord Jesus. His sole desire is to testify, or to bear witness to, the life and death of Jesus!
I am convicted by this, because I, too, am a follower of Christ. Yet I think that, if I had the full understanding of what Jesus did for me, I would literally be shouting his name from every corner, every chance I could. I would willingly walk into a life of certain afflictions because the confidence of Christ would be what sustained me. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve ever known what it’s like to have complete confidence, because I am guilty — like I believe a lot of Christians are — of not living that way.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
— John 14:26
Despite my own fearfulness, Christ has promised me — and all of us — help. It’s time to start living like we believe that, for we are most certainly not alone in our struggles.