Saturday, January 19
Sometimes I find myself running on a Christian autopilot. I know the right phrases, the right prayers, the right Bible verses, and a rough estimate of the heart of God. It might even look like wisdom. I can run on a sort of discipleship cruise control for embarrassingly long, but the truth is, really and truly knowing God’s will requires an attuned ear.
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. Passing by Mysia they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us! ” After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. -- Acts 16:6-10 (CSB)
It’s strange to think that God would prevent the work of missionaries, but that’s exactly what has happened here to Paul and Timothy. Within just a few verses, two things happen here: The Holy Spirit prevents and the Holy Spirit calls. In both cases, Paul had to pay attention to the voice of God to know the right thing to do.
Why didn’t God want Paul to share the gospel in Asia? Paul didn't know. Why did God prefer that Paul go to Macedonia? Paul didn’t know. Paul wasn’t given a reason, and often, God doesn’t give us reasons, either. It can be tempted to “do what makes sense” or “what feels like the right thing to do,” but if Paul and Timothy had done that, they wouldn’t have been in disobedience to the more important tasks of God. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and wisdom will be given to him.”
Wisdom isn’t a natural intuition or a learned intelligence. True wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit alone. So let’s live like Paul and seek God’s wisdom in everything we do.
Father, thank you for sending your Spirit to us. Help us to hear you voice even above our own. Convict us for our self-reliance and show us your will. Give us the courage to follow your direction, especially when it doesn’t make sense to us. Give us wisdom and faith. Amen.
Pick Four More Activities
Listen and Worship.
Pray a Psalm.
Read a Book.
Retell the Gospel to Yourself.
Take Some Notes on Today's Devotional.
Pray for Yourself, Your Family, Your Church, and the Lost.
Memorize a Verse.
List Five Things You're Thankful For.