Acts 16:6-10 (NKJV) “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Every driving instructor knows that one of the first things a driving student must learn is the importance of the brake. If the student is not interested in learning how to use the brake, there is no need to teach them how to use the accelerator! Safe drivers have learned to appreciate the protection of the brake before activating the power of the accelerator.
When it comes to being led by the Spirit, many Christians are like careless drivers. Some lack confidence and are filled with skepticism. They “ride the brake,” slowing down God’s plan for their life. They frustrate everyone following them. Then there are those who have a “lead foot.” Their concept of driving is “fast and faster.” They are so eager and determined to do the work of the Lord that they fail to pay attention to where they are going or the dangers ahead. Ultimately they are stopped but by something other than the brake. We must realize that both lagging behind and running ahead of the will of God can rob us of our effectiveness for God.
Paul was eager to do the will of God. However, he did not fail to consider the leading of the Spirit. Paul had plans to go into Phrygia to preach the gospel but was forbidden by the Holy Spirit. He tried to go to Bithynia but again the Holy Spirit did not permit him. Paul knew how and when to apply the brakes. When it comes to doing the work of God, obeying God’s “no” or “not yet” is just as important as obeying His command to “go.”
One night God spoke to Paul in a dream. Through this dream Paul received instructions to go to Macedonia. Paul let off of the brake and put his foot on the accelerator. He went immediately to Macedonia to preach the gospel. As a result, the whole area of Asia Minor was opened to the gospel and many of the churches in the New Testament were established.
As we seek to be led by the Spirit, we must be consciously aware of the importance of the brake. It will help us avoid being wrecked outside the will of God. It will help us to stop before we get out of the will of God. It will help us slow down when we get ahead of God. It will help us avoid dangers up ahead. It will help us stay still when God is silent. It will help us stay put once we reach our destination. Once we appreciate the protection of the brake, then we can begin to appreciate the power of the accelerator.
Application: Are you seeking to follow God’s direction for your life? Do you know His will but find yourself “riding the brake” out of fear, doubt, or disobedience? Or do you find yourself so eager to do the will of God that you are unwilling to consider the importance of the brake? Are you consistently missing God’s timing, commonly offending people you are trying to reach, and failing in your attempts to do God’s will? Are you experiencing more tragedy than triumph in your zeal to do God’s work? Then it is highly possible that you have not learned the importance of the brake in your life. You may be more concerned with the word “go” than the word “no.” Remember, in Paul’s ministry the word “no” came before the word “go.”
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I want to do Your will in my life. Help me to be sensitive and obedient to Your voice. Forgive me for ‘riding the brake’ through fear, doubt, and disobedience. Forgive me also for the times I have launched ahead of Your plan and timing. In following Your plan for my life, I determine now to esteem Your ‘no’ as important as Your command to ‘go.’ I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”