Why the “Open Door” Method of Determining God’s Will Doesn’t Work
Stepping out before you know how it all turns out—that’s what faith is all about. But many Christians embrace the false notion that it should be easy, or at least simple. And if it’s not, God isn’t in it.
But when we look at Scripture, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there is one thing we know we will encounter every time we change direction in life—resistance.
I chalk it up to the fall of humankind into sin. Because of it, all of creation both resists and supports our efforts to pursue positive change. It resists from within our own souls and from without, through external circumstances.
Yet the entire universe was created originally to function according to God’s commands. So creation itself wars against itself, even as we war within ourselves to walk by faith.
When I stepped out to follow God’s call to write and minister to His church-at-large, I met a ton of resistance. If I had been measuring success by how many “closed doors” I experienced, I would have dropped out a long time ago.
It was a painful season of life, one that tested our faith in ways we never imagined possible. It also grew our faith exponentially and raised our belief-level substantially.
You see, we were made to live by faith, according to what we believe to be true. Yet, because of our sinful nature, we cling to what we can see, sense, or feel.
So while we want to step out and follow God by faith, we often pull back at the first sign of resistance, claiming the need to experience an “open door” before moving forward.
Can you relate to that?
The Myth of the Open Door
Moses didn’t have an open door in Egypt. David didn’t have an open door to the throne when being pursued by Saul for years. Elijah didn’t have an open door when Jezebel hunted him like a dog. John the Baptist had his head removed. Not exactly a green light.
Jesus didn’t exactly experience a friendly reception on the Via Dolorosa, and yet he was exactly where the Father wanted him to be.
Whether a door in life is open or closed does not depend on the strength of our difficulties, but on the certainty of God’s promises.
Case in point: The Israelites cried out for deliverance from their Egyptian oppressors. They said they wanted change. When Moses arrived, they cheered and thanked God for sending a deliverer—until the resistance kicked in.
Once Pharaoh increased their workload, they changed their tune, essentially citing the additional discomfort as a “closed door” from God. More specifically, Exodus 6:9 tells us they told Moses to get lost for two reasons we can all relate to: “anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.”
Anxiety within and discomfort without. Internal fears and externalcircumstances.
Aren’t those the two that always rise up when we try to change? At least it’s good to know we’re not the first to experience them.
In fact, they are normal, sinful responses to adversity. Better to stay put in bondage than to step out and risk destruction, right? The Israelites had to go through a difficult process for a season in order to change the way they thought about life. And so must we.
Death by Drifting
The painful truth is that we are looking for reasons to fail.
We subconsciously seek excuses to stay where we are. Some of us even eagerly embrace these excuses to justify what we believe to be true—we’re not good enough, God doesn’t love us enough, and His promises aren’t certain enough.
But growth always requires at least a season of discomfort. Always.
Think about when you were a child. Didn’t you stumble as your feet grew larger? Did you stop walking? How foolish it would have been for us to fall, scrape a knee, and choose to drop out of life at the age of seven.
I would argue that it is no less foolish to step out by faith, meet resistance, and quit chasing God’s best for your life. Those who choose the path of least resistance in life end up dying a slow death—but dying all the same.
“Death by drifting” will be the diagnosis when these walking dead finally run out the clock in this life.
Zig Ziglar puts it this way: Life is tough. We can either be tough on ourselves or life is going to be tough on us. One way or another, resistance will come.
We can choose to experience it head-on in pursuit of the life direction we believe God is calling us to pursue, or we can drift like soap bubbles and wait for life’s storms to blow us about until we pop.
It’s your call.
But don’t let the resistance you encounter surprise you—or stop you.
Question: What resistance have you encountered when stepping out to follow what you believed to be God’s best for your life? Were you surprised by it and how did you respond?