Psalm 32:8 says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you” (NLT). The Lord promises not only to guide us on the best path for our lives, but also to advise us all along the way.
Although Romans 8:14 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God,” many Christians make decisions based on a variety of other factors besides the leading of the Spirit.
Some pursue their self-made plans without even consulting the Lord. Others are led by their feelings and emotions, even though the Bible never says we are to be led by how we feel. Still others make decisions based on an unstable economy, current government policies, or other external circumstances. But the devil can govern and influence these natural areas because he is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). When we make our decisions based on these natural indicators, we invariably come to wrong conclusions.
The Apostle Paul tapped into the All-knowing One for wisdom in his everyday life. Paul had received few details after the Holy Spirit compelled him to go to Rome and stand before Caesar; only that prison and suffering lay ahead. But that didn’t matter, he only wanted to hear the Lord say, “Well done.”
The ship carrying Paul to Rome had docked after many days of dangerous sailing. As the crew prepared to continue the voyage, Paul warned them: “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives” (Acts 27:10 NKJV).
Paul’s warning wasn’t heeded. In that journey to Rome, the crew responsible for the voyage were led by a variety of sense-ruled means: their own natural reasoning, the crowd, others’ expert advice, and circumstances — and they all suffered the consequences for their wrong decision.
First, Julius, the centurion responsible for taking Paul safely to Rome, was persuaded by the helmsman’s opinion rather than making the decision for Paul’s safety himself. He was influenced by the so-called expert helmsman and ignored Paul’s warning.
However, experts don’t always know what lies ahead, but the Holy Spirit does, so be wary of following experts! Remember, Bernie Madoff was considered an expert in the investment world, and when he failed, everyone who had followed his expert advice suffered.
Second, they reasoned, “Fair Havens was an exposed harbor, a poor place to spend the winter” (v. 12). It seemed reasonable to the crew to sail on to a harbor with less exposure from the winter. Their failure to listen to Paul, however, exposed them to greater danger.
It’s just as dangerous for us to allow our intellect, reasoning, or natural understanding to lead us. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). If we want to know the right path to take in every situation, we cannot lean on our own knowledge, instead we must look to the Lord for guidance and direction.