Monday, January 14, 2008

Open doors?

Why do so many Christians think “open doors” are a sign of God’s will? You know what I’m talking about: you're wondering what to do and suddenly, there it is—an open door! No need to think any more, just walk on through the open door; it must be God's will, right? On second thought, I think I see the appeal: God makes the right way not only easy to see, but easy to walk.

Too bad the Bible paints a different picture. Think about Jonah, for example. He found some wide open doors in Joppa: a boat going in a direction he wanted, money to pay his way, calm seas, and a bunch of guys willing to take him on board. Only thing was, taking that boat was exactly opposite of what God wanted for Jonah. So the Lord closed a door or two to get Jonah’s attention.

If we can’t know God’s will by looking at open doors, what can we do? For a start, how about looking at that picture we just talked about?

(c) Copyright 2008, A. Milton Stanley

6 comments:

David said...

The problem I see with your idea is that Jonah was not seeking to do Yahweh's will, he was actively running from it.

Shanktified said...

I think the key to anyone you see in scripture following the will of God comes from a deep relationship and knowledge of who God is. Look at the contrast from Paul in 1 Thess 2:18 and Rom 1:13. In one it's Satan preventing him and in the other we are left assuming it's the Lord. How can we know? I think it's best by knowing Christ so well that we like sheep "know his voice." Beyond that I think you are right - an open door does not mean let's jump through it. I do tend to practice and pray "Lord close this door before I step through it." Which he has been quite faithful to do. And I'll also add, while I ramble on here, that in those times I've stepped through doors I shouldn't have. God has been faithful to teach me and grow me in spite of myself. Sometimes I think we let the fear of doing the right thing, keep us from doing anything. Which is another of Satan's great plans.

There - I've settled that now. Or have I????????

Milton Stanley said...

Yes, that's an incisive point and a weakness with the Jonah example. But the overall idea is still valid. Consider idol worship among the Israelites: idols were all around them (lots of open doors), and the Israelites appear to have fallen quite naturally into worshiping them. Temptation is almost always like that--open doors right in front of our eyes, bidding us to step on through. Thanks for your comments. You're always welcome here.

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, Ron, for sharing your thoughts. I think you're exactly right that knowing God's will comes from having a deep relationship with and knowledge of God. Of course most of us prefer short cuts: signs, open doors, open-and-point verse snatching, and other varieties of verse-jacking.

Good to hear from you again. Peace.

Sista Cala said...

And what of the "open doors" that they have opened simply because they continued to knock and push on them? You post gives me a good starting place for the next time someone asks me about when/how/why God opens doors and etc.

Milton Stanley said...

Glad to hear it, Carla!