Whisper by Mark Batterson

Whisper by Mark Batterson

Author:Mark Batterson
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Published: 2017-10-24T04:00:00+00:00

A Check in the Spirit

On his second missionary journey, the apostle Paul had every intention of going to Bithynia, a Roman province in Asia Minor. He had probably booked nonrefundable fares, but God closed the door. More specifically, Paul was “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”20 That check in his spirit was followed by a vision of a man in Macedonia saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”21

What makes us think we will discern God’s will any differently than Paul did? Sure, we have a fuller revelation of God, thanks in large part to Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament. But Scripture doesn’t get us from Bithynia to Macedonia. The God who closed doors then also closes doors now, and to believe anything less is to undervalue the literality of Scripture.

As I mentioned earlier, when I was a senior in college, my whispering spot was the chapel balcony at Central Bible College. Like any college senior staring graduation in the face, I was trying to figure out what was next. That’s when I was offered a dream job by a pastor who happened to be my favorite chapel speaker. I was tempted to say yes on the spot. Why wouldn’t I accept the offer, my only offer? But as I paced the balcony and prayed about it one afternoon, I felt a strange check in my spirit. Saying no to what seemed a perfect situation on paper was one of the toughest decisions I’d made at that point in my life.

Less than a year later that pastor had to resign because of a moral failure. Would I have survived that situation? I’m sure God’s grace would have gotten me through just as it’s gotten me through everything else. But God closed the door to “Bithynia” in no uncertain terms—a very clear check in my spirit.

A check in the spirit is difficult to define, difficult to discern. It’s a feeling of uneasiness you can’t ignore. A sixth sense that something isn’t quite right. A lack of peace in your spirit. A check in the spirit is God’s red light, and if you don’t obey the sign, you might be headed for trouble.

God closes doors to protect us.

God closes doors to redirect us.

God closes doors to keep us from less than His best.

Bithynia was Plan A for Paul, so Macedonia probably felt like Plan B. He probably perceived it as a detour, but it led to a divine appointment with a woman named Lydia, who became the first European to convert to Christianity.22 And detours like this one were typical of all Paul’s missionary journeys. Remember the perfect storm that tossed his ship for fourteen days before it sank off the island of Malta?23 Was it a shipwreck? Or was it a divine appointment in disguise? How else would Paul have met Publius, the governor of Malta, or healed his sick father?24

Coincidence suggests shipwreck.

Providence demands divine appointment.

Remember the old axiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? The same could be said of our circumstances.


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