But the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.

Acts 16:7

When Paul and Timothy were on their missionary journeys, they saw the church grow fast and strong. Yet, there were times when the Spirit of Jesus prevented them from going to certain places. While there isn’t always a clear understanding of why—there’s a definite understanding of following the Spirit of God more than following our own paths.

Sometimes we get excited about a move of God in our home, work, school, and relationships—which is a good thing. However, we must not let our emotions and presumptions get us off God’s agenda onto our own plans. In Proverbs 19:21, we learn that “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

This doesn’t mean that we don’t make plans or work ahead as necessary. More so, it’s about spending time with God in prayer, fasting, and meditation of His word. When we’re closer to God than our agenda, He will lead us in the right direction regardless of the circumstances around us.

When the Spirit of God prevents our steps, it’s because He sees the bigger and broader picture of what needs to happen. Sometimes God wants to grow our faith in times of uncertainty instead of moving us forward. He knows when we need to mature and learn His ways before we move to bigger challenges. It’s our responsibility to trust in Him when the Spirit says “no.” This means we need to learn to hear God’s voice more clearly and follow Him carefully.

When we are paused or moved into a different direction, it’s our patience that is tested and tried. We learn to resist the fleshly desires to move forward in our presumed pathways. As we continue to grow in patience, we allow ourselves to become more like Christ and less like the world.


Dear Lord, help me to listen and discern when the Spirit of God is leading in a different direction. Grow me up in the faith so that I can be used for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In His Service,

Crystal McDowell Signature