See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. (Revelation 3:8)
In God’s economy, closed doors are meant to direct us to open doors. Closed doors are blessings in disguise because they save us wasted time, energy and pain. Open doors on the other hand are opportunities for productivity, provision and fulfilling purpose in our lives. For that reason we need to learn to thank God for closed doors rather than grumbling and complaining about them and focus rather on looking for the open doors He provides.
The Bible tells us that what God “opens, no one cans close, and what He closes, no one can open.” (Revelation 3:7) That is reason enough not to belabor over a closed door. Paul the apostle and his team learned this when they sought to go into Asia, but the Holy Spirit closed that door to them. Obeying, they continued their journey westward and just days later God gave Paul a vision where he was beckoned to Greece. It was there he discovered through the miraculous literal opening of a prison door, the opportunity to plant the Philippian church. (Acts 16:6-34)
From Paul’s own personal experience there and elsewhere, he therefore urges us to “make the most of every opportunity.”(Ephesians 5:16) The very nature of opportunity is that it is a gift from God that presents us with an open door through which, if we perceive it and take courage, we can pass into a new place of God’s provision.
The Greek word forming the core of the word opportunity is “poros” meaning “an opening.” From it our English words “porous” and “port” are derived. A port serves as the entryway into a seacoast city or place of commerce. In times past, before dredged harbors and sophisticated ships and navigational systems the timing for entry into ports was often limited by favorable tides and winds. Only under limited conditions or opportunities was it possible to enter into a port and do business. That of course also applied to enemies who sought to invade a city by sea. It was required of the seafarer that they recognize and understand the opPORTune time to enter the harbor and therewith claim their prize.
In my experience there are two major challenges of faith in “making the most of every opportunity,” both of which have already been alluded to above. First, it is easy to get so hung up on focusing with frustration or regret at closed doors, that we fail to move on looking for open ones. We can sink into self-pity and feeling sorry for ourselves while perhaps even blaming someone – ourselves, others or God. We become so fixated on having the doors of our choosing open our way that we lose sight of the fact that God knows better and just might have a better plan.
Secondly, having given up trying to batter a closed door down and decided to move on, we can become impatient in looking for an open door and waiting for God’s opportune time in opening it. We also can be thrown off by preconceived ideas and preferences which we carry as to the type of open door we are looking for and fail to recognize God’s door in the process.
Overcoming both of these debilitating tendencies, getting stuck at closed doors or failing to take advantage of open doors, takes faith.
One of the defining characteristics of faith is persistence and a frequent reference to faith in the Bible is that it is a fight. Getting beyond closed doors and finding open doors requires a persistent fight of faith. Jesus did say “ask, seek and knock” and chided His disciples repeatedly to persist in their faith and not to lose heart. (Matthew 7:7, Luke 18:1)
Faith carries with it a freedom to experiment, to go out on a limb or step out of the boat, to see what God will do. Faith in its essence is best defined by the phrase formed using the letters FAITH: Functioning As If Trusting God. It is taking action and relying upon God to make something of our actions for His glory.
In Roman’s 12:2 we find the secret to searching for an open door. Paul writes “by testing you might discern what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” In this verse, finding open doors requires two things, 1) testing them (i.e. knocking on doors) and 2) discerning the degree of their openness and God’s timing and blessing through it.
I have been taking great encouragement of late from these meditations and pray that you will as well.
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