As the Spirit Leads

"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas." (Acts 16:6-8)

Jesus never expected His followers to do anything or go anywhere without the leading and enabling of the Holy Spirit. Since it is God who "works in [us] both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13), we should always trust Him to guide us into every good work that He has prepared for us.

The Lord put it in Paul's heart to go back and visit the brethren in all the places where they had formerly visited on their first missions trip. The team had changed a bit since Barnabas separated from Paul but the Lord had new people for Paul to meet on this trip that would both add to his team and add to the churches.

First, the Lord brought Timothy into Paul's path, a man with a good testimony among the brethren, who may have even been saved on Paul's last missionary journey. He had a Greek father and so he was not able to have his spiritual guidance in his life. His mother and grandmother had been faithful to instill the foundations of his faith but he needed someone like Paul to come along and share the gospel to help bring him up in Christ.

How about you? Who is the Spirit leading you to learn from and who might the Spirit be leading you to come alongside at this time to help someone move closer in their walk with Christ?

Paul knew that the gospel of grace expanding into this region was so vital for the growth of the kingdom of God that he even chose to circumcise Timothy just to remove any potential barriers that the Jews might have in receiving the good news of Christ. This was clearly not a salvation issue as that had already been definitively decided and dealt with back in Jerusalem but was a good example of how to "become all things to all men that they might by all means save some", as Paul would later write in 1 Corinthians 9:23.

Do you recognize barriers that are getting in the way of gospel ministry where you are?

The Lord knows who He desires to bring into our lives and when He desires to accomplish certain things. He also knows when it is not the right time to go to a particular place. It is interesting how the Holy Spirit forbade Paul to go to two different places that he personally thought would be a good place to preach the gospel. His will and desire was good but he still needed to yield to the Holy Spirit to accomplish God's greater work.

Are you willing to let go of your will and allow God change your plans? Are you open to God redirecting your life to fulfill His calling in His way and timing?

Shortly thereafter, Paul was led to meet Luke the Physician who accompanied him on his trip. This may have been more for Paul's personal health at first but clearly this relationship was ordained by the Lord and Luke would be God's chosen vessel to give an accurate account of the Gospel of Jesus and to write down the book of Acts as we know it today.

We all need to live our lives as the Spirit leads because the Lord always knows what is best for all of His children and He is faithful to guide us to the right people at the right time, since He leads us on the paths of righteousness for His Name sake.

The Spirit leads us in various ways:
  • The Spirit will lead us to certain people (Acts 8:26)
  • The Spirit will lead certain people to us (Acts 10:19-20)
  • The Spirit will lead us away from people (Acts 16:6).

While discerning the leading or the Spirit, we need to be:
Biblical - Knowing the full counsel of God’s Word and staying biblically sound.
Sensible - Not doing anything foolish or obnoxious in the name of the Lord.
Accountable - Being willing to seek the counsel and confirmation of our brethren.

In the end, the leading of the Spirit led a precious sister named Lydia to receive the Gospel as God opened her heart and a Philippian jailer and his whole household put their trust in Christ.

  • Have you counted the cost in your service to Jesus
  • Are you open to God redirecting your life?
  • Will you go wherever the Spirit leads?

No Comments