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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Waiting on Doors

Waiting on Doors

 

This is the third message in a series on the meat of the Word of God. In 1st Corinthians 3 Paul told the church at Corinth that they were still on the milk. In Hebrews 5:12 the writer said that those who should have been teaching someone else were still having to be taught themselves and therefore were still on the milk of the Word. Through the years I have experienced many things in my own growth in Christ. I’ve made lots of mistakes and learned from them. I also watched many around me make erroneous decisions and suffer the consequences. I am a great observer of people. I listen to what they are saying with their words but also with their lives. Just because someone tells you they love you it doesn’t mean that they do. Saying they love you and then abusing you is a contradiction and their actions really tell you their heart.
Just as in last week’s message I pointed out a popular quote that didn’t go along with the Bible I want to look at another thing we seem to do about God’s direction. Christians usually say that they want to be in God’s will but seldom do what it takes to find it. We have lots of quotes about doors these days. For instance, I hear a lot of people who talk about waiting on God to open a door for them. Another saying is that if God closes a door He will open another. With these analogies we get the mental image that God will keep us from doing something that He doesn’t want us doing and will only allow us to walk where He says. This is only partly true at best. Let me further explain.

When we begin to think like this we start doing anything that is allowed! If this concept was completely true then we could live without thought and He would never allow us to sin or walk astray. We need to search the Bible and see what God said about guiding us. First, let’s look at what Jesus said about a door in Revelation 3:20. He stated that He was standing at the door and knocking. He is waiting on someone on the other side to do the opening. There is a famous painting that depicts Our Lord standing outside and knocking. It is based on this Bible verse. There are many modern variations of this artwork but the original was quite unique. The artist intentionally did not paint a door handle on the outside because the door can only be opened by the person on the inside. We usually think about Salvation when we read this and rightly so. When we hear the call of the Holy Spirit we can ignore His voice or open the door. Many of us have opened the door but more have rejected God. Jesus doesn’t force Himself on anyone and all who go to Hell will do so because they rejected Him. When we were saved we answered that knock and gave our entire lives to Christ Jesus. Are we under the impression that since that door is now open all others will be controlled by Him, too?

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think its all up to us now! I am a firm believer in the Providence of God. Through the Bible we can see God’s work behind the scenes where He allowed and stopped certain things for His plan to take place. In the Book of Esther we see it completely. But we also see that men and women had to take action to open these doors. In this historical event the Jews were in a position of possibly being completely wiped out. A wicked man named Haman came up with a plan to kill all of them. Through God’s Providence a Jewish lady named Esther became Queen of that country. Upon finding out about this plan Mordecai, Esther’s cousin asked her to stand up for the Jews before the King. This put Esther in a place of risk because anyone who approached the King without being summoned could be executed. Esther prayed and realized that if she did nothing she would die anyway. She petitioned the King and told him about this plot and they were saved.

This belief of simply waiting on doors to be opened has caused many people to do nothing when they should have been doing something. We do sometimes get ahead of God and try to make things happen before His timing. But have you ever noticed that people sit idly by waiting on a job instead of applying for one? They sit at home praying for God to send their husband or wife to them instead of actively going places and meeting people. Many young men seem to be ill prepared for an occupation. They just tell everyone it will all work out and something will come along. If my roof is leaking should I wait on God to open a door where miraculously a roofer shows up at my door and offers free repairs? We seem to have taken the door analogies to this level.

Let’s look at Luke chapter eleven. In verse nine Jesus is telling us that we need to do three things. First, we need to ask. Just as Esther and the Jews prayed to God for deliverance we must also pray for God’s answer in direction. Second, Jesus said that we must seek. Seeking means “to look and keep on looking”. If we are lost we don’t stop searching until we find our way. Seeking is an active word that shows something is to be done on our part. The third thing Jesus said we must do is to knock. Knocking is another word of action. Sitting in a recliner waiting on the door to open doesn’t work. The young husband who is struggling with his family’s money problems should first pray about his situation. Then, he must seek out companies that he could possibly qualify for a job at. And finally, he must get up, drive to the site and knock on some doors to see if he can apply for a job. Turn to Isaiah 30:21. God tells us that we will hear a voice that will say turn right or turn left. So in this we are promised we will know which direction to take if we ask. This one doesn’t sound like a door to me but it’s definitely talking about finding the will of God for our lives. Hearing right or left and failing to move in that direction is our own fault. (again—action involved!)

Turn to Psalms 37:23. Here it says that the paths of a good man are arranged or laid out by God. Let’s consider that for a moment. On the surface it seems that we have finally found a verse that agrees with our door philosophy of just waiting on God to open it. It seems to say that if we are good everything will just happen to us, right? The word translated as “good man” here means a strong warrior and one who is trained to fight. Surprised? This man is one who has prepared for battle and has experienced it, also. If you think about it, that means action again on our part, right? Continuing, we see that his path is ordered by God. This translates from a Hebrew word meaning fixed, ordered, arranged, established or directed. Finally, it says that he delights in his way. Who is the first “he” and who is the second one? We can read it either way. We could say that the good man delights in God’s way or we could say that God delights in our way. You’ve probably read it the first way but I want you to think about it the other way. The word translated “way” means “moral character” or “manner” and “habit” God delights in our way when we have prepared ourselves! When the farmer plows and plants his field for a crop God will bless his efforts by giving the miracle of life and sending the rain and sun it needs for a harvest. He honors the work of the farmer and He will honor your work, too!

As a youth pastor many years ago and as a pastor in more recent years I have had the opportunity to observe people experience the urgent need to hear from God. More often than not they lazily kept a relationship with Him until that moment when disaster struck. Then they cried out and asked God where He was. During the months or years before this they failed to listen to Him in their day to day activities. Then, when they needed direction they wanted to know why they couldn’t find it. They desperately asked for a door to be opened and then waited. Sadly, we too often find ourselves wishing we had prepared ourselves for the “door” to be available to us. If we are to be lead by God we need to know Him. The only way to know Him is to read His Word. Asking for direction from Him without knowing what the Bible says is ridiculous. Satan would like nothing better than to confuse you with thinking something is God’s will. He started with Adam and Eve in deceiving them and is continuing his work today. He twists God’s Word around to try and make you think it says something that it doesn’t. If you don’t know it well you will be deceived.

I like a quote I saw from a friend the other day. It said “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time to plant one is today”. Truly, hind sight is better than foresight. We all wish we had lived a little differently when we get further down the road in life. Taking the second part of that tree quote if we do realize we have made mistakes in failing to open doors twenty years ago let’s not fail to do something today! Maybe you have expected God to move and He seemed to be silent. Could it be that you haven’t been asking, seeking and knocking? If you have battled sin in a certain area for years, waiting on God to open or close a door could it be God wants you to do something?

A young man asked me to pray for him a few years ago. He said that he had a strong prescription drug addiction and wanted God to take it away. This man had been in years of rehab and counseling for alcohol and drug abuse. He had already lost job after job and was finally in decent employment. I realized at that moment that he really didn’t want to quit these drugs. I told him that I would pray for him but he had to do something, too. I explained that he had to really want to quit and must stop this. At this point in his life God had given him a good job and a beautiful family. He had everything going his way and yet he still wanted these drugs. The verse I used last week about God not allowing us to experience temptation beyond what we can bear came back to me and I shared it with him (1 Cor 10:13). I looked him straight in the eyes and said “If you don’t stop, you will end up in prison”. A few months later that man left his job and robbed a pharmacy with a toy gun. He was arrested at his home that evening and is serving five years in prison today. He wanted a door to be closed and instead of actually making the effort he wanted God to do it all.

Friends, lets not be foolish. We must do what is at our hands to do. Most of us are no longer children who must be spoon fed. God has given us the means to find Him, fight sin, work to provide for our families, etc. Lets be an active partner with God.

Father-Through Your Holy Spirit make us aware of areas that we have failed You in. When we need changes in our lives help us to see the area and then ask, seek and knock until that door is opened. Show us when we need to turn the key and show us when we should wait on You.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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3 Responses to "Waiting on Doors"

  1. Ron M Dewberry says:

    Thanks Paul. Enjoy these messages. In them all I find myself lacking! I pray God will continue to forgive me and give me his wonderful Grace!
    Thanks.
    Ron

  2. Virginia says:

    Thank you for the wonderful message.

  3. Magnus says:

    Fair points. We can’t sit around waiting for God to magically anoint us. God asks us to begin the journey of our own free will and then He will provide the road map for the journey.

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