Bound by the Spirit

Bound by the Spirit (Acts 20:22)

Today to honor and remember Apple’s founder and greatest leader, my sister posted on Facebook one of Steve Jobs’ famous quotes. It says “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

My initial reaction was a loud “WOW!” Such words of power and wisdom; no wonder he was able to do what he did to bring his company to where it is right now. Then it made me remember, an important truth the Lord taught me many years ago about the leader’s passion in obeying God.

The apostle Paul in the book of Acts said, “And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” (Acts 20:22 NASB)

One may ask why was Paul so courageous? He was never afraid even when facing persecution, riots, harm and even the danger of being jailed? Even if he was unsure what will happen to him in Jerusalem, he still was very much willing to go. Why was he still willing to obey God in spite of uncertainties or the huge possibility that he will suffer chains and afflictions? The answer in Paul’s passion in obeying God lies on the very first words of verse 22 – “Bound by the Spirit…”

Paul is already bound and afflicted by the solemn charge of the Spirit, that’s why he is no longer afraid to be bound and be afflicted here on earth. How can anyone still bind and afflict him when he is already bound and afflicted by God?

Just like what Steve Jobs said, Paul is already naked, no longer afraid of anything. He loosed all things for the sake of Christ. For Paul there was no reason at all, not to follow his heart.

Obeying God is not a matter of our strong will. It is a matter of our heart. As leaders, we are called to obey God no matter what the cost is. But the strength to obey Him does not come from us. It comes from Him who has captured your heart. If our hearts are already taken captive by God, obedience will surely follow. No matter how hard being a leader is, no matter how difficult the tasks that lay before us, for as long as we are bound by God, our heart will surely be filled with the passion to obey Him.

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