Happy Valentine’s Day
I have always been drawn to the following passage:
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, since the holy spirit had forbidden them to speak the word in the province of Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the spirit of Jesus didn’t allow them to do so. . . . Then a vision appeared to Paul in the night . . . When he saw the vision, at once we set about finding a way across to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the good news to them. (16:6-10)
I am convinced spiritual discernment is a huge topic I have neglected. I think that is because I come to passages like this one and I leave confused. I just can’t see my way forward into the topic.
How do we know the will of the Spirit? How did Paul know the Spirit had forbidden them from going into Asia and Bithynia? Was it that sixth-sense “knowing” that many of us feel at times, or was it something more? Was this knowledge from a prophecy he had received? The Macedonian Call came through a vision; was that how he discerned the stops on his journey? Then we come to the word “concluding” in verse 10 and it seems some level of reason and deliberation was involved, but to what degree?
Some are sure that every whim and fancy is a message from God. Others say God gave us a brain and expects us to use it, and the implication often is to use it to the exclusion of all other options. I am convinced the way forward is somewhere between these extremes, as we see in this passage. I would like to learn and experience more on this topic.