“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
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
As Christians, standing for the Lord, we should expect a certain amount of persecutions and afflictions. God, in His sovereignty, gives more suffering to some Christians than others, but we are to fill up the sufferings of Christ (Colossians 1:24) and count it a privilege and our duty to suffer for our Lord. The Holy Spirit constrained Paul to go to Jerusalem. The word for “constrained” here literally means “bound in the Spirit.” Paul was so committed and led by the Spirit that he had no choice but to go where the Spirit directed. The Spirit showed Paul in advance that imprisonment and afflictions awaited him. Yet this did not discourage him as he did not account his life of any value or as precious to himself. Rather he had his eye on the prize to run the race to the end and complete the ministry that God laid before him, to spread the gospel of God. Paul, so different from many today even in the Church, saw his own interests and life as unimportant but the glory of God as everything, and we should have the same attitude. By serving and suffering and ultimately dying in the service of God, he would glorify God.
In the same way we have a choice, day in and day out, to glorify God or give our priorities to our own interests and self. When we pursue our own self interests we live shallow, broken lives and it leads to despair. Alternatively, we can die to ourselves (Galatians 2:20) and live for the glory of God and our reward is not only a more fulfilling life here but a crown of righteousness laid up for us in Heaven. Let us be resolved to be bound by the Spirit and successfully finish the course of our lives.