In the course of any single day there are numerous doors of opportunity that I can choose to walk through, or not.
Some are obvious open door opportunities.
I can get out of bed when my alarm goes off, or not. I can answer that phone call, or not. I can engage the person at the supermarket checkout in conversation, or not. I can encourage someone, or not. I can pray for someone, or not.
Some are closed door opportunities that require me to knock and/or try the handle.
I can attempt to call that person that I need to forgive. I can endeavour to make a time to meet with that person I need to seek forgiveness from. I can keep knocking on the door of faith for healing. I can keep knocking on the door of faith for restored relationship. I can try the handle and step through the door of letting go of bitterness and hurt. Or not.
There are also significant open and closed door opportunities throughout the course of our life that relate to relationship, vocation, community and faith. Knowing which doors to walk through can be difficult. Some doors seem closed to us, never to be opened.
In Revelation chapter 3 from verse 7 Jesus has a message for one of the seven churches that begins as follows:
What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
This is such an encouraging message for the people of the Church in Philadelphia (which, just for clarification, was located in a region we now know as Turkey). Even though they had experienced great persecution and had little strength, God had opened a door that no-one could ever shut. No person, circumstance or force (spiritual or natural) could close the door to God’s love, grace and authority for their lives.
What a phenomenal promise. We often long for those doors. The doors only God can open and no-one can shut.
But there are also doors that God leaves closed and gives us the responsibility to open.
Further on in Revelation chapter 3 (verse 20) Jesus says to the Church in Laodicea:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Jesus doesn’t open that door. Jesus knocks and waits. That’s the door to communion, the door to relationship. Jesus has made a way for us to be in relationship with Him, but we get to choose whether we will open that door, or not. We have a part to play.
In Acts chapter 12 we find a fascinating series of events, in which Peter is freed from prison, that involves God opening some doors but not others.
God opens the locks on the chains that bind Peter, He opens the cell door, and He opens the prison gate. Peter then heads straight to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people are gathered praying for his release.
Peter then spends most of the evening knocking on the door as the people inside the house refuse to believe that it could be him.
It seems strange, lazy even, that God would free Peter from prison and open so many doors to leave the last door unopened.
C’mon God, you couldn’t finish the job?
There are doors that only God can open. But there are doors that He wants US to open.
Sometimes we’re waiting for a door to open, we’re waiting for God to open it, but we actually just need to open the door ourselves or we need someone else to open it for us.
Sometimes the miracle is already there knocking at the door and we either run away from the door in disbelief or we explain it away.
Sometimes we’re too busy to notice that our prayer has already been answered.
This is not to suggest we can spend too much time praying. But the purpose of prayer is not simply for us to convince God to do what only He can do. It’s more often so that God in us and through us can equip us for what He wants us to do.
Love opens doors. And it seems to me that there are a lot more doors that Jesus equips us to open through the Holy Spirit than we actually realise and turn the handle on. We can spend a lot of time asking God to open doors, when God in us and through us is actually ready and waiting to open them.
Increasingly, my challenge is not in knowing which doors to knock on, open, or walk through. My challenge lies in having the courage, compassion and conviction to keep knocking and to keep stepping through. My challenge is a battle against complacency. My battle is in continually placing Jesus first, putting people above my own comfort and embracing the risk that comes when love opens doors.
OVER TO YOU
You might be facing a closed door right now, be careful how much you read into that and try not to over-spiritualise it. Closed doors aren’t always an indication that the door isn’t for you. Maybe God doesn’t need to open it for you, maybe He wants to open it with you and through you.
Are there areas in your life that you just need to keep knocking on the door, trying the handle and that you can open yourself or someone can open for you?
Are you waiting for God to open a door for you that he has already equipped you to open?
God has brought you to this place, location, workplace, and community for a reason.
What door do you need to be knocking on?
Whose door do you need to be knocking on?
What doors do you need to be opening for other people?
What’s your part to play?
May God give you the courage, compassion and conviction to keep knocking and to keep stepping through the doors of opportunity He places before you.
Don’t give up!