Wednesday, April 13, 2016

That's not the way I would have done It

Read Acts 21.

Can a person acting in the will of God be misunderstood?
Can a person dismiss good counsel by godly people and still be in the will of God?
Can a person living in the center of God's will suffer?

The Apostle Paul declared in Acts 20:22 that he was "constrained by the Spirit" to go to Jerusalem.  He wanted to be there in time for the annual Pentecost celebration.  He hand carried a collection for the poor and needed to deliver it to the church at Jerusalem (24:17).

However, along the way, he was warned of the danger in going to Jerusalem.  Paul had once been a trusted leader of the Sanhedrin to chase down, arrest, and stop the followers of Jesus.  When Paul became a believer, the Temple leadership sanctioned his assassination.  It has troubled some that the disciples in Tyre, "in the Spirit", told him not to go.  And, then, at Caesarea, Agabus dramatically warned him with "Thus says the Holy Spirit".  Some have misinterpreted this to be stubbornness on Paul's part in not listening to wisdom.  Rather, these statements are concerns of friends who did not want to see Paul suffer or worse, be killed.  Their statements are accurate from the Holy Spirit of what would take place but they do not contradict the will of God for Paul to go.

We should listen to those who have our best interests at heart.  We should take into consideration godly counsel.  We must be aware of our own weaknesses, ego, pride, selfish goals, and stubbornness.  Such things are sinful and will never achieve the will of God for our lives.  Seeking God's face, obeying His word and His will are imperatives.  And, what may be the plan of God for one, may not be what God wants from another.  Paul later wrote, "So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)

Indeed, Paul stated that He was doing what the Holy Spirit led him to do regardless of the consequences.  "For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (v.13).  At Jerusalem, in an attempt not to be misunderstood, he was falsely accused, beaten, and arrested just before the mob would have killed him.  He was never a free man after this incident.  But, even then he could honestly and publicly say, "...I have lived before God in all good conscience up to this day" (23:1).

Every day and every decision provides a self-check to be sure we are right where God wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do.

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