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Thread: Open and Closed doors: Biblical?

  1. #1

    Arrow Open and Closed doors: Biblical?

    I was wondering this for a while. I know God gives us talents to use for His glory, but what about the idea of perseverance in developing a new talent? Where in the Bible does it talk about open/closed doors for opportunities? Doesn't the Bible talk about perseverance in pursuing a goal that hasn't been attained? Here's a rough example. Say Joe was a Christian college student who loved studying psychology, and he plans to go to grad school and eventually get a doctorate because he wants to be a Christian counselor. But he's also good at playing guitar and singing and occasionally does worship music for groups. He applies to seven grad schools and gets rejected by all of them. Many Christians and preachers would say God doesn't want him to go pursue this career, that God is closing a door on him. Maybe Joe should pursue doing worship music instead. But Joe absolutely loves the psychology studying and pursues this no matter what. He applies to seven more grad schools a year later and makes it to one. I know God gives us freedom to make decisions, but what of this though? What if Joe listened to what some of these people told him?
    My concern here is perseverance. What is the difference between perseverance to a goal against many odds versus looking at these so-called closed doors? I just cannot wrap my head around this. Can somebody please help?

  2. #2
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    Personally I wouldn't get too hung up on the details. If we continue to acknowledge Him in all our ways and continually seek His will, He promises to direct our steps. We do see Paul battle all types of obstacles to the preaching of the Gospel yet he perseveres; and yet one little dream from God and they change directions in their missionary journey. You might take a close look at Acts and see the interplay of obstacles and perseverance in action.
    ♪ Each day may Christ become clearer, His Cross dearer, Our Hope nearer. ♫

  3. #3
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    I would suggest to "John" that he prays for God's will and direction in his life and to open doors where He would have him to be and to close doors where He doesn't want him to be. God honors that kind of servants prayer.

    “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
    ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name." Rev. 3:7-8
    Matthew 21:22

  4. #4
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    Crossnote said it well. If we have direction from the Lord then we can count on opposition from the enemy. God told Israel to take the Land but there were giants waiting on them over there. We must often overcome as we follow the Lord. I am not sure that an "open door" means an easy path.

    Grace and peace,

    Mark
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  5. #5
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    Excellent point Mark about the enemies opposition when doing God's will. That's almost always a sure thing.
    Matthew 21:22

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    I wish I knew. One thing's for sure though. I have a much different outlook on this now than I did in my teens. In my teens I wanted to know EXACTLY what God wanted me to do in every regard. Which girl should I ask out? What restaurant should I take her to? What project should I take at work? Should I go for overtime this week? What courses should I take at school? I was absolutely paralyzed with worry that I wouldn't pick the one God wanted me to. What a waste of good time that was.

    Later in life I found that I had a very, very good insight on what God wanted me to do. It was all there in scripture. Oh sure, it wasn't the big neon sign saying "GO HERE" that I wanted (for everything). Instead it was foundations to freedom. So I had two projects to pick from at work: Did one of them require me to be dishonest, or at least tempt me to do so? Then I knew which project not to pick. The rules are all there... and where the rules aren't explicit, there-in lies the immense freedom we've been given.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    I was wondering this for a while. I know God gives us talents to use for His glory, but what about the idea of perseverance in developing a new talent? Where in the Bible does it talk about open/closed doors for opportunities? Doesn't the Bible talk about perseverance in pursuing a goal that hasn't been attained? Here's a rough example. Say Joe was a Christian college student who loved studying psychology, and he plans to go to grad school and eventually get a doctorate because he wants to be a Christian counselor. But he's also good at playing guitar and singing and occasionally does worship music for groups. He applies to seven grad schools and gets rejected by all of them. Many Christians and preachers would say God doesn't want him to go pursue this career, that God is closing a door on him. Maybe Joe should pursue doing worship music instead. But Joe absolutely loves the psychology studying and pursues this no matter what. He applies to seven more grad schools a year later and makes it to one. I know God gives us freedom to make decisions, but what of this though? What if Joe listened to what some of these people told him?
    My concern here is perseverance. What is the difference between perseverance to a goal against many odds versus looking at these so-called closed doors? I just cannot wrap my head around this. Can somebody please help?
    Trance,

    Personally, I don't even like those programs through which we strive to discover our spiritual gifts. Good grief! Passion for something is 10x more important than talent. (Unless we become aware of an area of ministry for ourselves that we had not considered seriously before.) Not to say that it doesn't make sense to spend our time on things where we are more effective. But Paul told Timothy to "do the work of an evangelist." His gift wasn't evangelism, but teaching.

    Also, the idea of an "open door" is probably misused. Paul asked the Colossian Christians to pray that God would open a door for the Word, for him to preach the gospel. He didn't say that we should look for open or closed doors. He wanted God to prepare people's hearts for the gospel. Paul also spoke of open doors or closed doors on his second missionary journey. He wasn't referring to any gifts he had, but to the Spirit leading in a different direction at that time. In this case God specifically told Paul not to go to Bithynia or Asia. It was not because Paul was struggling. At Iconium, Lystra and Derbe Paul met great opposition and was even stoned and left for dead. But he stayed the course, even going back through those cities to encourage the new beloievers there.

    Let me give an example. A man named Larry Moyer had a real desire to be an evangelist. He attended Dallas Theol. Seminary. When he spoke with counselors, they suggested that he look for a non-speaking ministry. You see, Larry had a pretty severe stuttering issue. Well Larry persevered, and he once led an evangelistic dinner at our church. I discovered that I listened to him more carefully, as he on ocassion stuttered. I believe that God caused people to listen more carefully because of his speech impediment. Today he heads up one of the most biblically sound evangelistic organization I know of.

    So I say, "go for it." Don't base your confidence in God's leading on "open doors" or even what others say. But you might ask yourself if you enjoy doing what you want to pursue. Do others sometimes share how they were "blessed"? Also, it takes time to develop our gifts and talents.

    BD
    3 John 4 - "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my [spiritual] children walk in the truth.

    BadDog!

  8. #8
    Thank you guys for your insights. I am very blessed to be able to talk to people like you on these posts. God bless.

  9. #9
    My friend had told me one time that God has three answers, either yes, no or not yet. We have the choice to follow where he leads or to do what we want to do. But God knows best for us and though its not always easy getting to that spot, rely on God and he'll carry us through it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosstalk View Post
    Excellent point Mark about the enemies opposition when doing God's will. That's almost always a sure thing.
    It is.. and the door God has opened for you.. the adversary will be trying to close... he tries but will not prevail....

    I've seen and Watched God stop him in his tracks as he comes like a roaring lion, in an attempt to close what God has opened for me........

    God is for you......

    One thing I"ve learned over the years... is that when your in the Will of God... the enemy will come at you and try to close those doors God has opened for you.. but when your Ways Please Him... that is God Himself.... God will over time even make your enemies to be at peace with you...

    Look at the Wisdom from the Scripture...

    When a man's ways please the LORD,He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16: 7

    You see the Soveriegn God as Work in this verse.. as He is in control of all things... even the wicked and your enemies...
    Many appear Righteous and Just because they say 'yes' to Jesus Christ , yet they don't do His Will.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Verily I say unto thee, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the Kingdom of Heaven before you do.
    ------------------------------------------------
    The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying. YEA, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with LOVINGKINDESS have I DRAWN THEE.
    Jeremiah 31:3

  11. #11
    I guess also what I'm trying to say is that if I pursue a goal (one which honors God obviously), and if somebody perceives it as something that is too good for me and that God thinks it's too advanced for me/my skills, then God will punish me and crush that goal and be displeased with me. This is the impression I'm getting from some people in the church. Sometimes I'm afraid they are right and I'm wrong, that these goals I have are too lofty for me and I lose confidence. It's crazy, some days I'm super confident and walking with a bounce in my step, and others I change completely, head low and being somebody else I don't like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    I guess also what I'm trying to say is that if I pursue a goal (one which honors God obviously), and if somebody perceives it as something that is too good for me and that God thinks it's too advanced for me/my skills, then God will punish me and crush that goal and be displeased with me. This is the impression I'm getting from some people in the church. Sometimes I'm afraid they are right and I'm wrong, that these goals I have are too lofty for me and I lose confidence. It's crazy, some days I'm super confident and walking with a bounce in my step, and others I change completely, head low and being somebody else I don't like.
    Dude, think about what's lawfull, and not lawfull. God isn't some sick carnie who expects you to guess what path you need to take, then cut one of your fingers off if you make the wrong choice. God wants you to live righteously and there is no supersecret path that you have to discover. Your free agency is a gift!

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    I think you'll be just dandy if you make these types of decisions with the thought of letting God have the ultimate say-so.

    They're not nearly as important as the attitude you make them with. If your heart's desire is to serve God, no matter what, and no matter where, to bring Jesus to the people around you and to honor God no matter where you end up, then what difference does it all make?

    Submit all you are to Him. Give yourself back to Jesus, all of you. Our time here is in His hands, and we cannot add one day to our lives as it is. Life is so fleeting. Spend your days wisely, focused on the Lord, and no matter where life takes you, you will have no regrets because He will be with you. Live with both eyes open, pray with both eyes open. Trust God to fill in the blanks. If you had asked me 20 years ago where I'd be today, where I actually am now, isn't anything I would have ever thought of. We make our plans and imagine our path, but the Lord directs our steps, and He has a few surprises yet in store for you.

    100 years from now, nobody is going to remember you. You will be gone, your friends will be gone. Invest yourself into the Lord, who can give you a legacy that 2000 years later, will still bear fruit (look at what He did with the Apostles), whether anybody here remembers your name or not. Because your reward will come from God. And, those who trust in Him will not be put to shame.

    Short answer: Keep it in perspective and don't get too hung up on the details.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    . . . God gives us talents to use for His glory, but what about the idea of perseverance in developing a new talent?
    just a side note here talents are innate abilities that you discover. Skills are learned or developed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    Where in the Bible does it talk about open/closed doors for opportunities?
    There is no clear teaching on this that I have seen. It is possible (as with almost anything ) to cobble together a teaching from a few examples or isolated verses. What is not present is a consistent pattern or indication that this is how we can expect God to communicate a personal plan to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    Doesn't the Bible talk about perseverance in pursuing a goal that hasn't been attained?
    Sure, think of the widow and the Judge. or of the early christians being punished and martyred. Resistance does not mean you are disobeying God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trance View Post
    Many Christians and preachers would say God doesn't want him to go pursue this career, that God is closing a door on him.
    that is a shame.

    I recommend looking into "decision making and the will of God" by Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason. He very carefully separated what the bible teaches from the traditions and superstitions that have become a part of "christian" teaching on this subject. btw, he's not a whackjob or anything, very orthodox, bible centered guy. Good luck, and feel free to pm me.

  15. #15
    subarctic guy,

    I just skimmed over the PDF by Koukl and it was awesome. I think it's like a breath of fresh air for many believers, and many people should read this. Thanks for the post.

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