“And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.” (Acts 16:6-12 ESV)
On his 2nd missionary journey Paul was accompanied by Silas and Timothy. The most notable feature of this 2nd trip was that the gospel was preached for the first time in the continent of Europe. At the time, Paul and his companions were conscious only of establishing new churches in three Roman provinces which they had not reached previously. Yet it was obvious to Luke who joined the group at Troas, that the Holy Spirit deliberately guided them to take this great step. He led them by a combination of factors that occurred one after another ending with Paul’s vision of the Macedonian man. The group discussed all these events and concluded that God was calling them to go over to Macedonia to preach the gospel there.
From this experience we learn something about God’s guidance when it comes to expanding His Kingdom. Sometimes He guides with visions and dreams especially if He is planning something significant. His leading often involves negative and positive opportunities and circumstances accompanied by rational thought about the matters on the part of the church as they seek the Lord’s will together. Such methods can also be applied to making personal decisions and choices with an emphasis on rational thought and always following the revealed will of God. The Holy Spirit will never guide us to choose sin or sinful lifestyles.