This week we have been studying about seeking God’s will for our life. Consider this story that occurred in the life of the Apostle Paul.
Acts 16:6 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. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. NKJV
If ever there was someone who was focused on doing God’s will, it was the Apostle Paul. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:10 that he worked harder than all the rest. We read from the book of Acts, “…nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24 NKJV) And at the end of his life, he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV) Paul was a true servant of God.
But Paul did not always know God’s will. In today’s passage, we see that he and his companions wanted to go into certain regions and preach the gospel, yet they were prohibited by the Holy Spirit. Why did the Spirit not allow them to go into these regions? Was it because God did not want the people living there to be saved? It was because God had a very specific place that He wanted Paul and his companions to go.
Acts 16:11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. NKJV
Paul received a vision in the night that told him that he should go to a region called Macedonia. When he and his friends arrived there, they quickly realized that God had already gone before them. God had caused a group of ladies to form a prayer meeting and God opened their hearts to receive the gospel.
The Bible says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV) Sometimes God allows us to go through with our plans. Sometimes our plans have been planted in our hearts by God. But other times, God overrules our plans. He does not do so because He is against us, but because He is for us. It has been my experience that when all the doors I try to open seem to be closed, there is one specific door He wants me to go through.
God bless you brethren.