When Our Calling Is Confusing


And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.— Acts 16:6-10

Now on the video today, I will throw up a map so you can picture what Luke is trying to communicate about the journey of Paul, Silas, and Timothy as they head west. So at the bottom right, you will see two cities that Paul and Barnabas visited on their first trip. They have just gone back through these cities, and Paul picked up a new disciple Timothy. Yet Paul wants to go further. And so he heads west. And to put the distance they travel in perspective, the distance from Lystra to Iconium is about 20 miles. So from Iconium to Troas, you have about 400 miles. And they did not travel this by car, but by foot, which would have taken a couple of weeks. And on the map, you will notice the region of Asia to the south of their line. Bithynia was to the north of that line. So they travel the entire border of Asia and Bithynia, avoiding both regions. And it says in the text they were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” 

Now there are several reasons why it’s important to see this. First, we don’t really know why there was this disallowance by the Holy Spirit. But there was a reason. Second, we also don’t know how the Spirit communicated this to Paul, Silas, and Timothy. And that I would love to know. But third, there is an excellent lesson in this. You see, sometimes God gives us a calling, vision, or mission. And while the calling, vision, and mission may be clear, how we are supposed to accomplish that calling is not so clear. Remember, Paul’s first missionary journey was fast-paced and full of action, yet this one starts with a long hard walk of doing nothing — for probably a couple of weeks. I am sure Paul anticipated traveling into Asia or Bithynia along the way, but as we learn here, he was prevented. Yet these men just kept walking, stayed on mission, and actively listened to the Holy Spirit.

You know I bet sometimes you have a plan to. That you have planned to accomplish something you felt you were called to do. But that along the way, there was something that prevented you creating a cavernous gap between the calling, vision, and mission and the accomplishment of it. I am just guessing that’s happened to you somewhere in your life. And this gap can be frustrating if not irritating, causing us to question the calling, vision, and mission. But I love what these men do in this instance. Even though we don’t know exactly why it happened nor how it happened — they just kept listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That little red line on the map today represents three men who spent two weeks together getting trained by the Holy Spirit. And I bet while they were on that line, there were moments Silas and Timothy questioned their new calling, vision, and mission. But together, they just kept walking that thin red line listening to God one step at a time.

So today, if you are on that thin red line. Don’t get off. Don’t get frustrated. Just keep moving forward. And in time, God will reveal his calling to you in his way. And someday, like Paul, Silas, and Timothy, you too may look back and see the purpose of the thin red line.

ASK THIS: Where in your life do you feel like you are walking that thin red line? (Share this in the comments below).

DO THIS: Listen to the Holy Spirit.

PRAY THIS: God, I confess I am frustrated. I don’t know your plan for me on this line I am taking in life. I ask that your Spirit guide me. I need direction that only you can provide. Lift my spirits today. Amen.

PLAY THIS: Lord, I Need You — Matt Maher.


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When Our Calling Is Confusing

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20 thoughts on “When Our Calling Is Confusing

  1. Cory B says:

    I’m working on leading our bible study to serve in the community once a month. A few men stand up every time, but it’s always the same men. I’m hoping some new men step up, but every month we seem to come up short. Some times I feel frustrated and want to give up, but I am renewed by your devo and will continue to keep trying. Maybe expanding my reach or changing the opportunities available.

  2. SHELDON Bullard says:

    Thank you brother John for your prayer and your support it speaks volume to me. May God grant you His peace as you work through your red thin line.

  3. Curt reimer says:

    Thanks a lot Vince.its really confusing n frustrating in these times,we have plans n were not sure how to move forward.thanks for the encouragement,Jesus is great

  4. rick says:

    Thank you guys ! It is very uplifting to know that my brothers are praying for me. As well I am praying for you and all my Christian Brothers. The love and support that comes from this Daily Devo is amazing !Thank you Vince !

    • Jesse S says:

      I feel like God has a calling to for me to serve in ministry, yet where that is to be of service is unknown but will be located soon.

  5. Kevin Allex says:

    A couple years ago, I felt called into ministry. I don’t know if it was a calling from the Holy Spirit or something I put into my head.
    Right now, I just don’t feel very close to God and keep giving in to repetitive sin.

    • Dennis James says:

      When we keep giving into the lust of our flesh, God cannot use us in ministry and we put a separation between us and God. When I surrendered my life to God and grew into a deeper relationship with Him , I started to close the gap. Yes, I still fell into lusts of the flesh but I did not like the experience of the separation from God. The best advice I can give you is to repent, get into God’s Word, pray without ceasing and become obedient. Otherwise your repetitive sin nature will become comfortable and you will slip away. Is it tough? Yes! But submission plus obedience equals blessings. Stand steadfast !

  6. Rich Thomas says:

    I was set to go on a missions trip to Africa in March of 2020. Well let’s just say that didn’t happen.

  7. John Krumm says:

    So many time the book of Acts seemed to be one of teaching in the recording of select people and their saying, and one of history in the account of times and travels. Today Vince you showed me that line is blurred. I never noticed how such a period of time, what must have seemed at the time, could have impacted Timothy. Such valuable lessons along the travel of that road he could use at that time and in future times he must have learned.
    Today I am thankful for my journey!
    Men, in Christ…you can do all things in Him! Keep going! Satan’s false kingdom is destroyed bit by bit as we press in.

  8. sheldon says:

    I felt the leading of God for me to go into business, from which He has used this business to support many families however recently I feel a strong leading into ministry I only wish to be where He want me to be and to serve well pray for me as I seek the Lord for direction .

    • John says:

      Father God, thank you for leading Sheldon each moment of his journey from business into ministry by Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus name…Amen!

  9. Cory says:

    We’re struggling to get our men’s group started again after covid. Thanks for the message to keep the faith and keep “walking “!

  10. rick says:

    God, help me walk the red line in my life. I am frustrated, nothing seems to be working out. Give me the strength to continue, help me stay focused on You.

    • samcblower says:

      I am where you are, I am trying to stay faithful in walking the line, and I am sure I heard Him in the beginning, but now I keep wondering, how much farther, when will I arrive, what should I expect, why the delay. On and on my thoughts go, but I am trying not to question, but rather stay obedient to the calling I feel He put on my life. I will be praying for you, stay the course, remain faithful, even though you may not feel it happening, God is preparing you for what He has just ahead for you.

      • John says:

        Sam, your comment to Rick is awesome! You have the right attitude my brother and Father sees it and is well pleased.
        Father God, I pray that strength flow over Sam as he daily walks his path that You have him on in this life. Thank You for guidance and comfort from Holy Spirit as You give him shalom on the journey, in Jesus name. Amen!

        • samcblower says:

          Thank you John, you are a true brother and you have really blessed me through your words and support.

    • John says:

      Father I thank you that Holy Spirit is with Rick, teaching, guiding, comforting him as he desires to walk out what he is called to do.
      I know it is tough, Rick, at times where it seems that nothing is working. I encourage you to look for the lesson in these times and embrace the growth that will come because of patience. He is with you, leading you through, my brother. One step, remember that Jesus took one step at a time one the way to the place of sacrifice for our freedom.

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