The Power of Inward Perception

Bayless Conley, Answers with Bayless Conley

The Power of Inward Perception

In Acts 27 we find a familiar story laden with truth. The story takes place when the apostle Paul was boarding a prisoner ship bound for Rome…

Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul. And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there. When the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their desire, putting out to sea, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after, a tempestuous head wind arose, called Euroclydon.

And you know the rest of the story! They were lost at sea… and the storm was so fierce and unrelenting that the sun, moon, and stars didn’t appear for many days. It seemed like any hope they had of being saved was lost.

Notice that Paul had said, “Men, I perceive…” Was his perception based on his experience as a sailor? No! He wasn’t a seasoned sailor, he was a scholar. That’s why the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and owner of the ship. The helmsman, he’s the expert! The owner, he’s the authority!

So the centurion followed the direction of the helmsman and owner of the boat, and when all the circumstances lined up and it seemed like the door opened with just the right weather, they set sail.

Even so, Paul had a check in his spirit about setting sail that day. He had an inward perception. He didn’t get it from anything around him. He didn’t get it from the majority on the boat… he didn’t get it from the experts who knew all about sailing… and he didn’t get it from his circumstances.

But what he perceived ended up being right, even though it contradicted sound reason. Why was it right? Because the check… the perception… Paul had inside was from the Holy Spirit!

Now, there’s a great lesson you and I can take from this story. That lesson is this: There comes a time in your walk with God when faith and reason will part company.

I think anyone who’s walked with God any amount of time would agree with this! Some things of God are unreasonable. Some of His ways just don’t make sense to us when we look at them from a human perspective.

For example…

  • Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you.” But that doesn’t make sense! If I give it, I’ve got less. 
  • Proverbs 11:24 says, “There is one who scatters, yet increases more.” That’s like backwards math!

Yet as unreasonable as these things may sound, they’re true.

Friend, I can guarantee that in your walk with God, you will come to many such crossroads in your life. Thank God reason will often help you. But there will come a time when reason will go cross-grained to God’s ways. And it’s in those times you need to follow Him!

So let me ask you, do you have something going on inside you today… some kind of perception that you need to take action on? Maybe that check in your spirit is related to a relationship you have with someone other than your spouse that you know is inappropriate… and that still, small voice is telling you to break it off.

Or maybe you sense that your child is keeping something from you… and that inner perception is urging you to ask them about it. Or perhaps it’s even that you’re thinking about making that investment… but that check in your spirit is telling you to hold off.

Whatever it is, that inward agitation just might be the Holy Spirit trying to communicate with you. If so, I urge you to listen to that inward compulsion of the Holy Spirit today… and follow through with obedience to Him!

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