As believers God has promised to guide us by the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:14, the Bible says that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. We should learn to discern and distinguish between a green light which means ‘go ahead’ and a red light which means ‘don’t do it.’ Sometimes silence may mean ‘wait’, ‘not yet time’ or simply ‘no’. This is the reason why we need to develop more intimacy with the Holy Spirit and seek more clarity in the place of prayer.
There are times when we sense a restraint in our hearts not to do something, not to go somewhere or not to get involved with certain people or organisations. The restraint of the Holy Spirit is a tug we feel on our heart telling us “Don’t say it, don’t do it, don’t go there, don’t remain in this place.” He warns and gently turns us away or pulls us back from our intended course of action. When this happens we feel totally uncomfortable in our heart with whatever we planned to do.
Sometimes we are in a rush and want to do something because everything seems okay from the natural point of view. The truth is that only God knows tomorrow, He sees the heart of men, He sees things that are hidden in secret, therefore He can guide us to avoid every trap set on our path. When the Holy Spirit restrains us from a certain course of action we must understand that it is for our protection and for our benefit.
If we refuse or fail to respond to the tug at our heart, God sends people into our lives with counsel to restrain us from going ahead with what we planned to do. Such counsel would usually be contrary to what we’ve set our minds to do and this may be offensive to us and cause us to get angry with the people who gave us such counsel.
In Acts 16:6-7, Paul and his apostolic team were restrained from going to minister in two places. They were forbidden or restrained from going to Asia and when they tried to go to Bithynia, the Holy Spirit did not give them permission to go. He restrained them.
What they wanted to do was legitimate and good. They wanted to preach the gospel but God said, “Don’t go there!” There are a thousand and one legitimate and good things we may want to do but we must learn to listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit. No matter how good the prospects are, if the Holy Spirit restrains us from doing something, we should obey Him. Many good and legitimate things may not be in God’s agenda for our lives. It is God’s will that matters, not the fulfilment of our carnal and selfish desires.
A couple of years ago I was preaching at a Church somewhere in the United Kingdom. While ministering, the Holy Spirit said a business person was about to take a loan but should not to take that loan because “the loan will be a noose around his neck.” This individual came out and said he doesn’t want “a noose around his neck”. He said he wouldn’t take the loan. He listened and responded to the restraint of the Holy Spirit. Some months later he told me that after he received that word, he had some problems with the owner of the building where his business was situated and had to vacate the premises. Bottom line was that he essentially lost the business. If he had taken that loan like he wanted to, he would have used it to do extensive renovation on that property which he later gave up and would have incurred a crushing debt on his life. He listened and responded to the restraint of the Holy Spirit not to take that loan and it delivered him from unnecessary trouble.
Sometime ago in a prayer meeting, The Lord pointed out a lady to me and told me to give her this word: “You are in bed with the devil. Get out now.” I was as surprised as everybody else when this word came out of my mouth because this sister appeared to be a pillar of spirituality. Apparently we were all deceived.
To be sincere, if I had sat down to process that word in my head, I wouldn’t have said anything to her. But God who knows our very soul, who sees every secret thing we hide from men, revealed this portion of her life to me by a Word of Knowledge and I told her.
This lady denied being in a relationship and swore that she had no such dealings with any man. I asked her again just to be sure and she totally denied it. We were in a time of prayer so I let it go.
A year later, I was having a conversation with this lady and she said, “Do you remember the word you gave me sometime ago?”
“I remember that you totally denied it,” I said.
She said, “I lied.”
I was shocked because this was supposed to be a very spiritual lady. “Why would you do such a thing?” I asked.
She confessed how she had been in a relationship with a guy and although she knew he wasn’t right for her she still held on to him. When she refused the restraint of the Holy Spirit and continued with this ungodly relationship, her whole life plummeted. It was like the devil just wanted to punish her, and he used that guy to do his dirty work. After one year of experiencing pain, she finally let go of the relationship but the damage had been done. She was no longer the same person spiritually, emotionally and even physically. That evil relationship took a toll on her life.
Here’s the point.
The Holy Spirit restrained her from that relationship but she wouldn’t listen. The Holy Spirit sent me to tell her to break up with that guy, but she was adamant, stubborn and stuck to following her deceptive emotions. The Holy Spirit tried to protect her from the unnecessary pain she suffered but she wouldn’t listen. She wanted to do her own thing and consequently got hurt in her rebellion.
I remember another lady asked me to talk to her ‘fiancé’ and ‘find out’ if he is the right man for her. After talking with the man for a few minutes I told the lady: “This man is not your husband. He doesn’t want to marry you.” She asked me, “how do you know?” I said “God revealed it to me.” This lady told her fiancé what I said then they both started persecuting me, calling me names and saying very hurtful things to me. Well, six months later she found out that her supposed fiancé was a deceiver who was already in a relationship with another woman and they even had a child together. That man had been lying to her but God revealed it to me and sent me to restrain her from making a mistake with her life but she wouldn’t listen. She suffered great pain after the man’s lies were unraveled. Until today she’s still suffering from the emotional damage caused by that man’s deception.
Right now the Holy Spirit may be restraining you from going ahead with your own plans and ideas but you are dead set on doing what you want.
You want to resign from your job because it seems so difficult to continue.
You want to relocate to a foreign country to start a new life.
You want to start a church or ministry.
You want to invest in and start a new business venture.
You want to marry that awesome guy.
You want to marry that beautiful woman.
You want to accept a job offer.
You want to buy a certain piece of real estate.
All these are legitimate and good but God may have totally different plans for you, that is why you need to listen to the Holy Spirit. Unless you receive a green light from the Holy Spirit, don’t do it. That guy or lady may be a good person but not good FOR you. Relocating to a foreign country may not be God’s Will for your life and could totally ruin your life.
An open door is not necessarily God giving you the green light to do something. We should learn to function on a higher level of spiritual discernment and not be like children who jump at every opportunity they see. We must understand that the enemy also has the power to open doors in this natural realm. Therefore we should pray and ask The Lord what He wants us to do in line with His will for our lives and not just do what comes naturally to our minds.
We shouldn’t run after money, opportunity, people, bright prospects and open doors without receiving clear instructions from The Lord. We should subject everything to God in prayer and ask if what we are about to do is His Will for our lives. When we are in the centre of His Will for our lives, there is peace, productivity, protection and progress.
May the Holy Spirit restrain you from every wrong course of action.
May you discern and respond to the restraint of the Holy Spirit.
May He restrain you from a path that will lead to loss, pain and disaster.
May your heart become sensitive to His voice and His ways.
May you learn to move when He moves and stop when He stops.
May you be humble enough to accept your mistakes and ask for forgiveness when you are wrong.
May The Lord guide you supernaturally in the right paths.