Whose Way?

I remember in my high school days I had a hard time following directions. I was always looking for a short cut or a way to exert the least amount of effort to secure academic requirements. My system was awarded with grades that would cause penalties that would limit my social participation. In college, I was excited to be able to expand outside the realm of correct answers. Finding relief through subjective reasoning, I was free to express my own interpretations. Seminary was to be an adventure in Biblical revelation, but to my chagrin, I was back in high school listening to interpretive rhetoric in which doctrines of denominational beliefs were laid out to young men who felt a leading to enter the ministry. If one wanted ordination, he was required to endorse the tenets of a certain church’s dogma.

It was not until I received my diploma that I realized there was a Higher Education that was awaiting my enrollment. Joining the “Triune University,” I begin to see things in a different perspective. I saw unfiltered Truth with no bias or doctrines of human interpretation. The Holy Spirit became my teacher and guide. The Words of Jesus were fresh and inviting. The Epistles were more relevant than the daily newspapers. The Old Testament revealed God’s constant love for His people. It also showed the mistakes they made and the consequences they experienced. Every day was filled with opportunities to travel to new heights and depths in His kingdom. BUT!

The key to success in our Kingdom journey is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. I am sure that every Believer at sometime in their life has failed to obey the Holy Spirit’s directive. Maybe His leading was taken as an elective, rather than as a directive. Human nature tries to filter God’s Truth through feelings and emotions. There may be times when our receivers are on men’s instead of God’s frequency. Sometimes the Believers want to see the result before an action is initiated. Other times, we venture to think that our way might be the better way to achieve God’s intended purpose. The Apostle Paul was zealous for the Kingdom of God. He was the New Testament spear point of evangelistic outreach. What he went through would cause the average Believer to be embarrassed of their commitment. During the latter half of Paul’s third missionary journey, he got ahead of the Holy Spirit. Previously, Paul was submissive to the Spirit’s leading: e.g. the Holy Spirit told him not to go into Asia and he obeyed. (Acts 16:6) When he was told not to go to Bithynia, he agreed. (Acts 16:7) BUT!!! Throughout his last evangelistic outreach, the Holy Spirit continually warned Paul through other Believers that if he went to Jerusalem his ministry would be in jeopardy (Acts 20:23); that he would face “chains and tribulations” in Jerusalem. Every step of the way from Mellitus to Caesarea, the warnings were issued. (Acts 21:4,11) Paul was determined to go no matter what the Spirit told him. From the time he arrived in Jerusalem, his ministry was limited to small gatherings. There is no way to estimate how many people could have been affected by his continual ministry. How many more “tours” he could have initiated if only he had been obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God did not turn His back on Paul; rather, He put in motion an alternative plan that he was going to be a witness in Rome… not as a free man, but as a prisoner of the Roman Empire. (Acts 23: 11) God has a directive will for each of us, but if we chose to pursue our own way, God will still use us, although not to the full capacity of His purposed will. Paul was successful in Rome, even to the point of converting those in Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22), but think of what could have happened if he had only followed the Holy Spirit’s leading! Be excited about the Kingdom of God, but don’t outrun the Holy Spirit.

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