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How God Leads

June 15, 2011 by Kim

“Have it your way” may be a choice, but not a solution. Terry Kaufman

“Have it your way” may be okay when it comes to burgers, but it’s no way to do life for a Christ follower.

 

Hopefully you are not trying to live your life your way, but rather God’s way.

 

If it’s God’s way, you are no doubt trying to discern God’s will for your life and following His leading. But, how do you do that?

 

How do you discern if God wants you remain in the situation you are in now, or if He wants you to go to across the country, or across the world to be an ambassador for Him?

 

One way God guides us is by using “Open Doors”. Most of the Christians that I have heard describing “Open Doors” in their lives, describe them as opportunities that have come their way. What distinguished them as open doors was that everything seemed to line up just right so that if they went through that door, they would experience smooth sailing. Through that door it seemed as though God had gone ahead and removed all obstacles, difficulties and hardships.

But what does Scripture teach us an open door from God is? As far as I can tell, there are only two passages of Scripture that use that phrase. Both are described by the apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians 16:5-9 he wrote:

5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 

If the apostle Paul said he ran into opposition, you can bet it was more than just a little name calling. Consider what he experienced when He walked through some of the doors that God opened for him as described in 2 Corinthians 11. They included:

  • Frequent trips to prison
  • Severe flogging
  • Five times he received 39 lashes from the Jews
  • He was beaten with rods 3 times
  • He was stoned
  • He was shipwrecked 3 times
  • He was often cold, naked, hungry and so on.

If Paul’s understanding of open doors had been what I described earlier, he would have thought God was closing – not opening doors. But that wasn’t the case. Paul seemed to recognize that the possibility of opposition, hardship and obstacles were to be expected when he was doing God’s work. 

If you don’t correctly understand what open doors are, you may in fact miss God’s will for your life because you mistakenly believe that opposition means that a door is not open for you. 

The second instance in which Paul discussed open doors is found in 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 which says:

12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, 13 I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.

It seems from this instance, that God may sometimes open doors that Paul was not meant to go through.

Perhaps these doors are a test

Perhaps they only appear to be an open door from God but aren’t.

A confirmation that a particular open door is one that you should go through is a sense of peace. If it seems that God has opened a door for you and everything appears to be pointing to a certain course of action, but as you pray and contemplate your circumstances you don’t sense God’s peace about it, you should probably take it as indication that it is not an open door you should go through. If you do have a sense of peace, you may consider it as a confirmation that you should go through that door.

In conclusion:

  • Open Doors are one way of discerning God’s will. Study the scriptures to find out more.
  • Open doors do not mean smooth sailing, or the absence of hardship, obstacles or persecution.
  • A sense of peace is confirmation that God has opened a door of opportunity for you.

There is lots more that can be learned about discerning God’s will. Take some time to see what the Bible says about it.

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