“Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail. After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem.” (Acts 21:2-4, HCSB).
In these verses the Apostle Paul was completing his third missionary journey and had determined to go to Jerusalem. Upon arriving in Tyre some disciples there told Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that trouble awaited him in Jerusalem.
Paul had received warnings several times from the Holy Spirit that he would encounter trouble in Jerusalem (vs. 20:23). When Paul left Tyre and came to Caesarea, a prophet named Agabus declared Paul would be arrested and turned over to the Gentiles for prosecution (vs. 21:10-11). Paul’s arrival in Jerusalem and subsequent visit to the Temple caused a riot among the Jews and the Roman authorities took him into custody.
While in custody in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to Paul and told him He planned for Paul to testify about Him in Rome (vs. 23:11). We know Paul appealed his case to Caesar and was eventually taken to Rome.
So, from this example from the life of the Apostle Paul and from other stories in the Bible, we learn something about how God directs our life–that is, how we are led by the Holy Spirit.
My Sunday School teacher, Fred, explains it like this: God just tells us a little bit!
When Jesus appeared to Paul on the Damascus road, He told Paul to go into the city and he would be told what to do (vs. 9:6).
He didn’t tell Paul he would undertake three missionary journeys where he would travel to Asia and Greece and during his travels be persecuted by the Jews, shipwrecked, beaten, and run out of town on several occasions and finally be imprisoned in Rome.
Really, how would you like to know all that in advance?
God interacts with us on a need-to-know basis!
God restricts access to information about His will until the information is necessary for the conduct of our official duties for His Kingdom.
You might wonder why God leads us this way.
Well, I can identify several reasons why God would/should not provide complete information about His plans for our lives.
If God told us everything He planned for us, we would not accomplish anything worrying about all the bad stuff that will happen.
Or we would modify God’s plans to our own convenience or to suit our own wants and desires.
Or we would try to accomplish His plans our own way.
But when you are in a relationship with God, He works collaboratively with you. God gives you a little bit of information and you have to receive it in faith and act on what you know God is saying.
So listen for the soft voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit speaking to you in prayer, through God’s Word, or the counsel of other people, telling you what you need to know about His will.
Then step out in faith and act on what you know God is saying.
As you begin to accomplish God’s will for your life, He will give you a little bit more information, and then a little bit more and a little bit more.
And thus your life’s journey with God will unfold!
“All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” (Romans 8:14, HCSB)