"Well," he says mournfully, looking down at his scrambled eggs, "I really wanted oatmeal this morning, but I guess providentially I was destined to have eggs."
(I could have lots of fun with this. My family eats ketchup on our eggs. His family finds that revolting.)
He is just joking, but this reminds me of a serious fallacy regarding open doors and God's will for us.
Many people think that if there is an open door in their lives, they are supposed to walk through it.
This is prime foolishness.
An open door does not always indicate God's will for you.
Some open doors lead to empty elevator shafts.
Just because you received that job offer in Kathmandu doesn't mean you are supposed to uproot your family and apply for frequent flyer cards. Just because that guy proposed to you doesn't mean you have to go wedding dress shopping. And that offer of a free mucho-grando banana split-o while you are on a diet? Not necessarily an indication of your fated fat-filled future.
We hear this often here in the Philippines regarding job offers abroad: "Well, if I receive a job offer, I will know it is God's will for me to leave my family and move to Saudi Arabia to work."
The truth is that there may be many open doors in our lives. We have a responsibility to consider which ones God truly wants us to walk through. This can be hard work. It takes self-discipline and Scripture searching and prayer. It takes research. It takes submission.
I think we rely on the "open door" idea because it is so much easier than sweating our way through all of the options. And if it matches our own selfish desires, we can point at it to justify our decisions.
Here is how to properly handle open doors:
1. Examine that open door through the lens of Scripture, searching the Bible for
- clear commands
- passages directly related to your dilemma
- Biblical principles
- examples of people who faced your dilemma
- verses indirectly related to your predicament
2. Seek godly counsel from others who know the Word of God, understand the matter in question, and are fully acquainted with you.
3. Pray and ask God to direct your plans. Then ask for His continual redirection in any area in which you might stray from His will.
4. Expect God to lead you to the open door He wishes you to walk through.
When you properly handle your open doors, you can walk through them with confidence, knowing that even if you DO end up free-falling down an elevator shaft. . .
You can enjoy the ride.
God has led you there.
There is no guarantee that behind all of God's open doors for us lies success. Sometimes failure or trial is God's perfect will for us. But how precious it is to pass through a trial knowing that it was ordained of God and not a consequence of failing to seek His will!
Examine your open doors carefully.
--Timothy and Laura Berrey