In Acts 20:16, Paul no longer possesses the same characteristics found in Acts 16:6. He has matured to understand what his desires are and what the Holy Spirit desires. Can there be an overlapping of desires? Absolutely! However, a wise Christian can sift between the two voices. Paul sees sailing past Ephesus as bypassing all the good things he could accomplish yet chooses to go to Jerusalem which would not bring the same outcome. His example should signal the importance of sailing past good opportunities so that we can focus on the mission given by the Holy Spirit. Had Paul chosen to go to Ephesus, he might never have evangelized to Ceasar.
Paul was transformed from his mindset to accomplish things and uncertainty about God’s will to the accomplishments the Holy Spirit can do and certainty about God’s will for his life. Similarly, as we learn to trust and obey the Holy Spirit, we grow to be certain about what God has planned for us.
Grace and Peace,