In many ways, this author grew up in a home that seemed to be micromanaged by his father. Regardless of what was common in other families, and what seemed reasonable to us, his word was final. That meant boys never wore shorts and girls always wore dresses. We were not allowed to play organized sports, were rarely allowed leisure time with friends, and were never to question his instruction. It also meant, for us boys, that he dictated how early we started the work day, exactly what our labors were for the day, and when we were allowed to stop. But in contrast, once we left home, we had complete liberty. He never tried to tell us what to do again.
Paul explained clearly to the church at Antioch, that apart from works, God “had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). However, legalistic Jews sought to impose on these Gentile converts of Paul the requirement of circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law for salvation. These legalists just did not get the new truth that Gentiles were now being saved apart from Israel and through faith alone, but they should have understood. Paul and Barnabas vehemently disputed their efforts to impose works (Acts 15:2). They explained that Paul’s gospel was different than the one given to Jewish believers that promised the Millennial Kingdom (Galatians 2:1-2). After the meeting with the Jewish apostles, Judas and Silas were commissioned to make it clear to Paul’s converts that they did not agree with the legalizers-they agreed with Paul. Once their mission was finished, something very noteworthy and biblically consistent is said about Silas. Rather than return to Jerusalem, “it pleased Silas to abide there still” (Acts 15:34). Notice our text does NOT say God led him, or told him, or the Spirit guided him to stay. Instead of God micromanaging what he should do, the Lord granted him the liberty to choose with his own free will what to do and where to go. Similarly, though Paul desired Apollos to go to minister at Corinth “his will was not at all to come at this time” (I Corinthians 16:12). Likewise we read in Paul’s ministry that he often determined, by God’s liberty, where he would minister.
We offer these examples to the reader with a caution about thinking, or claiming, that God directs, leads, guides, or otherwise micromanages the details in our lives. Rejoice in the freedom of choice you have as a believer and use it responsibly.
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