3 Questions to Ask before You Take That 'Open Door'
- Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2016 21 Apr
Every once in awhile a “golden opportunity” seems to fall into our laps.
It could be in the form of a position change at work. A chance to take a trip of a lifetime. An offer to go into business with someone. Or a relationship that appears perfect and promising.
But is the opportunity really golden? Is that “open door” really from God?
Doors in your life will inevitably open, but God won’t necessarily be the One opening them. Opportunities will come your way that look appealing. But that doesn’t mean God’s hand is all over them. The key is knowing how to discern if an opportunity is really an open door from God.
The Bible gives us some principles to help us discern if an open door or opportunity is really from God. So here are three questions to ask before you take that “golden opportunity” or walk through that open door:
1. Does this Opportunity in Any Way Contradict God’s Word?
Many Christians see opportunities to make more money as an open door from God, even though the opportunity means a job that will keep them from regular worship, fellowship, and service in their church. However, God's Word tells us not to neglect meeting together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). Some women have told me that they believe God opened a door to a dating relationship for them, even though it meant being in a situation where they were "unequally yoked" with an unbeliever, which Scripture also warns against (2 Corinthians 6:14). God will not lead you toward an opportunity that contradicts what He clearly says in His Word. Nor will He open a door that would require personal compromise or disobedience in order for you to enter. As humans prone to sin, we have an excellent way of turning a clear mandate of God's completely around and justifying it by our circumstances, but that is not how God works. If there is a compromise in any way, or we have to bend Scripture to justify our opportunity or open door then it is likely not a door that God is opening for us. I would call anything that contradicts His Word a temptation, rather than an open door from God. And God's Word clearly says that God does not tempt us (James 1:13-14).
2. Has This Opportunity Been Confirmed At Least Twice?
In Matthew 18:15-16, Jesus laid out instructions for confronting sin among believers saying "But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses'." I believe the same applies when it comes to God confirming something in His Word. He will often confirm or establish a matter by "two or three witnesses" whether they be verses from the Word of God, advice from a pastor or well-respected person who is grounded in Scripture, or a non-compromising circumstance that continues to present itself. Through prayer, discernment, and seeking godly counsel, you should be able to tell if that golden opportunity and its confirmations are truly coming from God.
3. Does This Opportunity Require You to Depend on God?
God is not going to give us something that will alienate us from Him or make us believe we no longer need Him. He is a God of relationship, and a God who insists upon being first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Therefore, if you find yourself saying "I can't do this unless God goes before me," or "I can do this, but only with God's help and leading" I would say, in my personal experience, it's likely something God is calling you to do. Hebrews 11:6 says: "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Many times an "open door" from God is one that allows our faith to be stretched and strengthened. That, after all, is God's objective for us: to grow in faith and Christ-likeness.
On the flip side, however, if you are thinking “I can do this, hands-down, no problem” and it requires no faith or dependence on God whatsoever, I would question if it is really from Him. The last thing we need, as believers, is an opportunity that will feed our egos and convince us we are fine on our own, without God’s help. Proverbs 16:18 warns “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. God is drawn to the humble heart (James 4:10). So if your opportunity is a bit humbling, causing you to think Why would God give something this grand to me? Or How could I even do this were it not for Him? then it may be an indication that it is a blessing from His hand.
Take your opportunity or "open door" to God and ask for His confirmation -- through His Word and godly counsel from others -- and His peace in the decision, and you can have the assurance that you aren't just taking a golden opportunity at chance or at random. Instead, you can be assured you are carefully walking through a door He wants you to enter.
Cindi McMenamin is a Bible teacher and national speaker who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone, When Couples Walk Together, God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart, and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com
Publication date: April 21, 2016
Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, award-winning writer, national speaker, and the author of several books to help women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and one another. She and her husband, Hugh, co-authored the book When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Some of her books to help you combat fear and strengthen your trust in God include When Women Walk Alone (more than 145,000 copies sold), Women on the Edge, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You and When Women Long for Rest. You can find out more about her ministry, books, and free resources at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com .