Acts 16:7 (NIV)
When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to
Sometimes God says no
Do you ever feel like something is holding you back?
Well, maybe something is. Maybe God himself is keeping you from doing something or going somewhere. I know that’s not something we like to consider but what if that is the case.
Sometimes what we DON’T do is just as important what we DO.
Maybe….you should stop fighting and start embracing your restraint.
By restraint I mean: a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits
And by embrace, I don’t mean you have to necessarily pray for it or love it.
By embrace, I mean that you acknowledge that God is in control and that He can prevent you from going somewhere or doing something because He is God, and that qualifies Him to say no or yes when He determines it appropriate.
Paul is the ideal example.
Acts 16:7-8 (NIV) When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
Paul doesn’t try to fight it he simply acknowledges what is happening and keeps moving.
- Is God doing something in your life?
- Have you stopped making progress because you’re trying to make a way for yourself?
- Do you struggle with the thought that God sometimes says no?
- Have you convinced yourself that there is no other way?
God is wanting to speak you just need to listen
During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Once Paul obeyed and moved on, God spoke to him.
But what if Paul kept trying to go and fighting to do it on his own? He might not have heard God’s voice.
Some Restraints look different
After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
After God sends Paul in a different direction things go south.
Now, this might make some think that they made a mistake or maybe misheard God. But Paul is so used to simple obedience that he can see God’s purpose in restraints, even physical ones.
Just like before Paul embraces the restraints.
God’s purpose is always worth it
One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message…… The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
By the end of Acts chapter 16, Paul has been able to see God save several people.
Because of his obedience God works through Paul to miraculously make Himself known to them. God’s no is always worth it.
God’s no is God’s yes
Paul could have gotten upset and stopped making progress. But instead, he chose to trust God, listen for His voice, and obey.
Often what you will find is that restraint is what helps you look just past what you can see and get a glimpse of what God sees.
Paul could do this because he knew that God’s no to something simply meant yes to something else.