Today I was reading in Acts 19 and stumbled upon something that I thought significant. Paul is finishing up a lengthy visit to Ephesus and the NIV says, "After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem..." No big deal. This was one of a plethora of decisions Paul would make over the course of his ministry. But wait! The NIV leaves out something incredibly significant! The other three translations, mentioned above, paint an entirely different picture. The NASB and KJV say Paul "purposed in the spirit" and the Amplified says he "determined in the Holy Spirit". You see, Paul didn't just wake up one morning and say, "Hey, I think I'll make a trip to Jerusalem. Sounds like a good idea." No! It was as he walked with the Holy Spirit and communed with his "divine tour guide" that the Holy Spirit put that leading and purpose in his heart. There's a big difference! I know because there have been many times in my life that I HAVE DECIDED to do this or that. Some of these were good decisions; others were not:( But what God has been teaching me over the last couple of years is that His desire is that we would be led by His Spirit. He gave us the Holy Spirit to be our Guide and Counselor. If we'll commune with Him and rely on Him, He will lead us to make decisions that are in alignment with the Father's will. And that my friends is when things begin to happen to advance the Kingdom of God.
And here's something else. Not only did the Holy Spirit prompt Paul to travel to Jerusalem, He gave Him a specific route. The Spirit led Paul to pass through Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. If you were to look at a map, you'd see that's far from being the most direct route to Jerusalem. But the Spirit of God had reasons, things He knew Paul would need to be a part of, people he would need to meet. So Paul's decision to go to Jerusalem was not conjured up in his own head. Paul was simply following the prompting and lead of the Holy Spirit.
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (Romans 8:14) Teach us Father to be led by Your Holy Spirit!