Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens: 8 “I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.”
There is imagery here of opening and closing doors, doors representing blessings from God. The “holy one” opens doors that no one can shut and shuts doors that no one can open. In other words, what the Lord desires to take place – will take place. Period. The opposite is also true. That which the Lord does NOT want to take place will not take place. The church in ancient Philadelphia was under duress, but our passage for today proclaims a promise from God that he will save the church from those who conspire against it.
Sometimes it’s hard to know if God is opening a door to a new opportunity or if it’s just me doing something out of my own desire. Why is this important? Because that which God ordains will tend to prosper greatly. That which you or I ordain, because we think it’s a good idea, will not. If God’s grace is not in it, it will tend to fizzle with little to show for our efforts.
My son Nick is home from college in North Carolina to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. He returns to school tomorrow (Sunday). He’ll soon be finishing his junior year as an accounting major, which means he’ll be graduating before you know it. He’s a bit nervous because there are several big decisions he’ll be making, within a fairly short time, that will bear consequences for years to come. What kind of internship should he pursue? Should he pursue a degree minor? Should he graduate early in December or wait until May? Should he look for a job with a large firm, or would a smaller operation be a better fit? The list goes on.
My counsel to him is the same as with anyone else – prayerfully discern where you believe God’s grace is going ahead of you (opening a door), and follow God’s lead. But how do you do that? Here are some clues I’ve learned over the years that will tend to indicate God’s is opening a door for you:
- The opportunity God has in store for you will often find you rather than the other way around. It will present itself clearly and you will have had little to do with its appearance. If you’re having to struggle to get a door to open, it’s likely because God is not opening the door. You can force it open if you want to, but it may not end well.
- When God opens a door for you, he will remove all obstacles for you no matter how formidable they appear. Don’t be discouraged if the path you feel called to pursue seems impossible. Maybe it is, but maybe it’s not. If God is opening such a door, all of the obstacles in your way will eventually be removed – and you’ll know the Lord’s grace is going ahead of you. If the obstacles remain, despite giving the Lord time to work, you may need to move on.
- Sometimes the Lord says “yes”, but “not right now”. We tend to want what we want when we want it. We don’t like to wait for anything. And the truth is the Lord will often let you know what he has in store for you – eventually. The problem is, we often get a sense of our destiny before we’re actually mature enough to live into it. The bible is full of stories of people chosen by God to do great things, but who had to spend years (sometimes decades) in preparation first. Just because a door isn’t open for you right now doesn’t mean it’s closed forever.
There are more of these clues I could list, but this blog post it too long already. If you want to know more, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you’d like these blog posts on your phone every day, download our church app by searching for “Rejoice Lutheran” in whatever app store you use (Apple, Android, or whatever). There you’ll also find sermons and much more.
Blessings and peace to you on this Thanksgiving weekend!