They had been prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the message. 

Paul and his companions were on the move, preaching in city after city, until the Spirit blocked their path. Then they tried a different direction, only to encounter more roadblocks. But they kept looking for an open door, listening to the Spirit, and discerning together where God was calling them. Eventually, the Spirit inspired them through a vision to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:9).

There, God worked powerfully: Lydia was converted, a young woman was set free from demonic possession, and Paul and Silas turned their imprisonment into an opportunity to evangelize their jailer. That trip laid the foundation for the Philippian church.

Like Paul, we face decisions—both big and small—every day. Especially with major decisions, it can be difficult to know what to do. But the Spirit wants to help us discern our path forward.

You can start with practical steps like laying out the options. Which ones are realistic? What are the pros and cons of each option? Maybe seek advice from a friend or family member. They might have insights that can help you to see things more clearly. And of course, ask the Spirit to guide you.

If you can’t yet see a “best” choice, you might try Paul’s strategy of pursuing one option to its end. In his case, he got a sense from the Spirit not to continue. This may happen for you, but the Lord might just as easily use other means to guide you. Some doors may open while others may close. Or you may find that one option begins to stand out from the rest. Often, as you try to follow the Spirit’s lead, you will find peace. This too can be the Lord’s way of showing you where to go or what to do.

Finally, throughout the process, take heart. You may not know the outcome yet, but the Lord does. Just as he guided Paul, he will guide you if you seek him.

“Lord, guide me in the decisions I will face today.”

Psalm 100:1-3, 5
John 15:18-21
Acts 16:10


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