The Spirit of God often leads His people in a positive sense with clear directions where to go and what to do. But sometimes He leads negatively, forbidding us to take some step we feel justified in taking. Paul was busy preaching in Phrygia and Galatia with great success.
It seemed natural for him to continue to Bithynia and reap a Gospel harvest there. There was just one problem. God did not want Paul there at that time, so “the Spirit suffered him not” [Acts 16:7]. There was for Paul a Macedonian call ahead, so he obeyed the Spirit’s prompting to bypass Bithynia and head for Macedonia.
The Christian ought always to move in the will of God. But determining that will is not always easy. Therefore our ears must be tuned to hear the voice of God as He gives His commands to us. He reveals Himself today, not in visions and audible voices, but in His Word. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Word, and His will for us will be found there.
Personal feelings about what we think should be done ought to be confirmed by God’s Word. If God closes a door, we would be foolish to try to batter it down. And if God opens a door, we would be foolish not to enter.
Do not be disappointed if God closes the door to some cherished plan. He knows best, and just around the corner, you will see far better. Bithynia was closed to Paul, but Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth were opened, and these cities alone led to five of Paul’s epistles.