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Click here to read Acts 20 on BibleGateway.com

tied-togetherHave you ever been compelled to do something? For example, are you now compelled to ask Mr. Google what “compelled” means?  Never fear: compelled means to force or oblige someone to do something.  You may be compelled by your parents to stop beating a sibling by the threat of a spankering. You may have been compelled by the law to either slow down or pay a reminder fee.  Perhaps you were compelled by the brownies on the counter to eat their little chewy centers.

Notice that “compelled” is different than “suggested.”  A friend may suggest that you pay for your share of the road-trip gas, but they only compel you when they lock the door and start driving away from the gas station in the middle of nowhere.  A bank may remind you to pay your loan, but they only compel you when they start garnishing your wages or taking stuff from your house.


In Acts 20, Paul is visiting some friends on his way through Greece and Turkey on his way back to Judea.  However, this is different than the other times Paul has visited.  He tells them that this will likely be the last time he sees any of them.  He’s on his way to Jerusalem, and since that is the home turf of Paul’s greatest enemies, he has a strong suspicion that things are going to get a little burnt on his toast.   His friends urge him to go somewhere else, but Paul replies that he is “compelled by the Spirit.”

When Paul says he is compelled by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, the word actually means “tied,” as in “I am tied to the Spirit.”  In other words, I am bound tightly to the Spirit, and wherever He goes, I must go. It’s a little different than “forced,” in that you can force someone to do something or go somewhere; but when you are tied to them, they go only where you go.  It’s a relationship taken to its fulfillment.  Paul does not say he wants to go to Jerusalem, and he’s praying for traveling mercies or a hedge of protection.  He’s saying “the Holy Spirit is going to Jerusalem, and since I’m tied to Him, I guess I’m going, too.”


Are you so tight with the Holy Spirit that you are forced to go where He goes?  Is your relationship with Christ to the point that you no longer say in your prayers “Jesus, please come with me,” but rather “Jesus, wherever you go, I am tied right to you.”  How many times do we pray “please, God, answer my prayer,” as opposed to “please, God, what is your heart?”

We can often get so focused on our goals and plans, that we tend to simply ask God’s blessings on what we want to do.  What a difference it would make to approach God with the attitude of “what are you doing today? Can I be a part of it?”  It’s a privilege to serve Christ; it’s not a service we provide to Him in exchange for something in return.  We are simply servants, pleased to be in the presence of our Master, wherever He might go.

Are you compelled by Christ today?

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