It is easy when reading of the great and powerful Acts of the Apostles and early Church to imagine that they had perfect insight and understanding into the will of God. It makes sense that if signs and wonders followed these guys had to be walking a little bit higher off the ground and little bit closer to God. It some ways I am sure that’s truth. Yet scripture makes it clear they were more like you and I then we dare to admit.
We easily imagine that they had Divine GPS that they received their next Active Duty Assignment. We imagine the Holy Spirit always released a prophetic word, dream, or vision. That the Apostles always waited until they heard the still small inner voice of the Holy Spirit before launching the next Missionary journey, or outreach to the church.
While their are neat supernatural moments of Divine Direction often it looks a little bit mundane and ordinary. Leaders in the early church often simply bathed an issue in prayer and then embarked on the journey. Saying things like; “If the LORD wills…” “Pray God opens a door…” Let’s look at Acts 16:6-8
The Macedonian Call
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.
Did you see what happened here? First the Holy Spirit forbid them from preaching in Asia. For the next leg of the journey they didn’t have a clear direction, so they tried to go into Bithynia, when it turned out that was wrong the Spirit did not permit them.
The important point here is sometimes we wait on the LORD and He tells us up front go here, do this, say that. Often however we move forward in faith and once we are moving He is faithful to direct. We often suffer paralysis out of fear of missing God’s will. The truth is if your heart is seeking obedience, you commit a matter to prayer and then move ahead, He is big enough to re-direct your foot steps. I would rather misstep by moving forward then standstill doing nothing out of fear of “missing God.” Jesus gave some really strong words about the guy who did nothing with his “talent.”
Why is it that at some points in our journey the LORD gives us such confidence: “This is the way walk in it!” Yet other times He seems silent, the ways He has directed me in the past seem weak and ineffective. At different times God certainly has His reason for guiding us differently. I suspect that He is teaching us to always lean upon Him and not our own understanding. That there isn’t a formula is exactly the God I am growing to know. Just as Mr Miyagi taught Karate through unconventional but effective methods, so the LORD knows exactly how to work everything, even our own missteps into our training and spiritual growth.
Commit your ways to HIM, seek His Face, and move forward, While your moving forward keep the dialogue going and regularly pause to listen. He will direct you footsteps its just that His process might be different than you anticipated.
You’re gonna get good at this!