When my path is blocked, I often turn to Acts 16:6-10 and reread it. It is a heart check for me. Obstacles can frustrate, protect, or redirect. They have a divine purpose. When our heart is humble, the Lord will give us clarity.
In verse 6 it says that they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Verse 7 says, “…but the Spirit did not permit them.” Then Paul had a vision. Through the vision, he received clear direction. The resistance and the open door were both directed by the Holy Spirit.
It reminds me of Revelation 3:7. It is speaking of the Lord, “…He opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.” The Lord will frustrate us when we try to open a door that He has shut, or will keep a door firmly shut that we try to press through.
I use this verse when I pray for folks that need to make a decision. Praying Scripture is a sure way of conforming our way to God’s way. It is speaking truth that agrees with His eternal purpose.
I think back to Paul when an opportunity opened for him. 1 Corinthians 16:9 says, “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” He had other plans, but verse 7 says, “…if the Lord permits.” When the new door opened, he remained where he was.
In Ephesians 6:19 he asked for prayer for himself, “…that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” In all that Paul did after his conversion, it was always to make God’s word clear to his hearers.
When our path is blocked we need discernment. A few days ago I wrote about the fruit of humility is discernment. James 4:6 is such a well known verse. It is easy to skip over the first part. We want grace. God’s condition to His gift is humility.
The first part is our reality check. It says, “…God resists the proud…” When we are resisted, we need to check our heart. Are we prideful? Are we pushing for our own way? Are we being impatient because something isn’t happening as fast as we had hoped?
1 Corinthians 10:1-4 uses the word ‘all’ five times. Verse 5-6 says, “But with most of the God was not well pleased…Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”
Lust is a byproduct of pride. Think of the 10 Commandments. What is the last one? Exodus 20:17 says, “You shall not covet…” What is coveting? My personal definition is wanting something that God has not given me.
I believe that the Holy Spirit will put a check in our heart the moment that we begin to dialogue in our thoughts that are contrary to God’s way. Psalm 23:3 says, “…He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” I will continue this tomorrow.