God has given us the ability to reason—but too much mental
reasoning blocks spiritual discernment and breeds plenty of
With that in mind, is it possible that you are reasoning yourself
out of prophetic wisdom that could be blocking your spiritual growth,
your blessings, and even the full manifestation of your destiny?
I’ll admit it. I am analytical. I tend to reason through every
possibility before making a decision. But I also pray after my
thoughtful analysis and ultimately submit my plans to the written
Word and the Spirit’s leading (which always agree).
Of course, I’m
not perfect. But my purpose is to lean not on my own
understanding—even when my own understanding seems plentiful in my
own eyes (Prov. 3:5-6).
Because the human heart is deceitful above all things there is an
ever-present danger of flowing in pride instead of flowing in the
Spirit (Jer. 17:9). This is especially true when we consider
ourselves well-versed, experts even, in any area. Knowledge puffeth
up (1 Cor. 8:1), after all, and pride comes before the fall (Prov.
If we rely solely on our own reasoning—our own understanding—we
could find ourselves shipwrecked. But if we rely on the Spirit’s
wisdom—on His reasoning—we may find ourselves with a haul of
blessings so big we can’t contain them. Indeed, we can see this
very principle in Scripture.
Just before Paul began his voyage to Rome, he received some
prophetic wisdom from God. Paul told a centurion that he perceived a
voyage that ended in disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo
and the ship, but also lives (Acts 27:10). That’s a pretty dire
warning. But did the centurion listen to Paul? No, he was more
persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship, who reasoned
that the harbor was not suitable to winter in.
The centurion’s response was, well, reasonable. The helmsman and
the owner of the ship were expert sailors with keen understanding
about the ways of the sea. Paul, by contrast, was a
Pharisee-turned-tentmaker-turned-gospel-preacher who had no formal
sailing experience. Paul simply didn’t have the same seafaring
credibility as the sailors. So when a majority decided that setting
sail was the best move, expert reasoning won out over prophetic
How many times have we done the same thing in our own lives? Our
past experience and our smart friends give us reasons to go down a
certain path even though we feel in our spirit that we should go the
road less traveled. So we head off in a direction our expert friends
suggested—and circumstances seem favorable at first. We think we
have confirmation and we feel pretty good about our decision. That’s
what happened to Paul’s shipmates. After they decided to ignore
Paul’s prophetic wisdom and set sail, a south wind blew softly.
They supposed natural circumstances were proving their reasoning
right (Acts 27:13).
Then it happened. Not long after they set sail, a tempestuous head
wind arose. The ship was caught up in it. Just a few moments after
expert pride caused the helmsman to set sail, all hope was lost that
the ship would be saved (Acts 17:20).
Many of us have experienced similar circumstances. We rush out
fully believing we are in God’s will only to run into a major storm
that brings discouragement and despair. We are confused because we
sought wisdom in the counsel of many—but we weren’t moving in
God’s timing so we landed in a tempest when God had planned a
harvest. That’s not to say that just because you encounter trials
along your journey you missed it. But many times when you move
against God’s prophetic wisdom, even unknowingly, you face
obstacles that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
Peter also had the opportunity to choose prophetic wisdom or lean
on his own understanding. Peter let Jesus use his boat while He was
teaching the multitudes. After Jesus was done with His sermon, He
told Peter to “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for
a catch” (Luke 5:4). Now, Peter was an expert fisherman. He knew
when and where—and how—to fish. Jesus was a carpenter by trade.
Peter quickly answered with the voice of reason: “Master, we have
toiled all night and caught nothing … .”
Had Peter stopped there, he would have missed his blessing. But he
continued, “Nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net”
(Luke 5:5). Peter went against his own understanding and leaned into
the prophetic wisdom Jesus offered. Jesus knew full well that Peter
would catch so many fish that his boat couldn’t even hold them all.
The haul was so great that the nets were about to break and the boats
about to sink. Ah, the blessings of obedience. Peter could have
reasoned himself out of that blessing. How many blessings have we
talked ourselves out of?
Of course, God in His mercy works everything out according to the
counsel of His will—and His will is good (Eph. 1:11). That means
even when we stray off the Spirit’s path and onto the road of
reasoning, He will work all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28).
When Peter walked away from his fishing business to follow
Jesus—which goes against all logical reasoning—he received some
greatest spiritual blessings. Peter had the revelation from the
Father that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God; Peter
preached the first Holy Ghost message that got thousands saved; Peter
was a father of the early church. Indeed, Peter’s blessings for
embracing prophetic wisdom go well beyond the boatload of fish.
But God also worked Paul’s unfortunate situation together for
good. Although the boat on which Paul was traveling to Rome wound up
shipwrecked on Malta, God used the occasion to advance the gospel.
Publius, a leading citizen of the island, got healed of fever and
dysentery. Then the rest of the people on the island who had diseases
came to Paul to be healed by Jesus (Acts 28:7-9).
Although Luke doesn’t record salvations, I am convinced that
many of those who received healing also received salvation—and,
knowing what we know about Paul, probably got filled with the Holy
Ghost too! And that’s ultimately what it’s all about: getting
people saved, filled with the Spirit, and equipped to be a witness
So as you face your next crossroads, consider the eternal
perspective. Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways
acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Even if you run into a
tempest, you can be sure that He knew about it beforehand and is
using it to bring you toward your destiny in Christ.
About the author: Jennifer
news editor at Charisma
magazine. She is also the
author of several books, including The Heart of the
Prophetic. You can email
Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need
visit her website here.