6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
If someone said to me that they believed that the Holy Spirit was preventing them from preaching the gospel in a particular place, I would have a hard time accepting that. I mean, doesn’t God want the gospel preached everywhere? And not just preventing them from one place but another as well? That doesn’t fit with how I expect the Holy Spirit to move.
But that is the issue. I can have my own expectation of how I think God will lead me. And because I have these expectations, is it possible that I have tried to do something that I believed God wanted me to do, but was not in tune with the Holy Spirit and missed what HE wanted?
This is not about self-criticism, but rather being open to God saying no to a good thing because he had a different and better plan for me.
Not too get paralysed by always questioning whether something is perfectly right or not, but in Paul’s case, I expect there would have been clear signs that it was God saying no. So instead of pushing through opposition, to ask is this opposition from God or not? And let that be a factor in determining the direction I take when serving God.
And Paul’s response can teach me. If I can’t do one thing, then try something else and keep trying until it is clear that this is the direction God has planned.
It’s better than doing nothing, waiting for a door to open that God has no plans to open.
Father, I thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to be our guide. Help me to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit so that I can follow your plans for my life.
Written by Andrew Martin