I hear people say all the time, “God opened a door for me.” Or, “God closed a door for us.” Does God really open and close doors to show us His will for our lives? I think He can, but just because there is an open door in your life, it does not mean God is the one opening to door. And certainly every open door is not God’s will. We have to determine if God is the one opening the door, if we are opening the door, or maybe even the enemy, Satan, is opening the door. It could be a trap.
The pattern for God showing His will to His people throughout Scripture is not one of God mysteriously opening and closing doors. No, the pattern through the Bible is God speaking to His people and clearly telling them what He wants them to do. Here are a few examples. God comes to Noah and shares with him that He is about to destroy the earth with a flood. And He tells Noah to build an ark to save his family. God comes to Moses in the form of a burning bush and tells him to lead His people out of captivity from Egypt. And God comes to Abraham and tells him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to the land that I will show you.
In order to communicate His will, God speaks to His people. In the Old Testament, God the Father spoke directly to His people. In the gospels, Jesus, God’s son, spoke to His people. And in the book of Acts and today, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, speaks to God’s people. In John 17, Jesus shares with his disciples that He is leaving earth to go back to Heaven, but He will send the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, to guide and lead His people.
Today, God speaks to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. And He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit in a few different ways. First, God speaks to us by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Bible, the word of God. The Bible is God’s written word to us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And almost everything we need to know concerning God’s will is laid out for us in the Bible (Psalm 119:105). The better we know the Bible, the better we know God’s will for our lives.
Secondly, God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through prayer. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Prayer is not only talking with God. Oh, we love to talk with God and bring our wish lists to Him. But prayer is also listening to God.
In James 1:5, it says that God promises to give wisdom to those ask. If we ask God for wisdom, we need to listen for His response. We have to learn to hear God’s voice as He answers our prayer request. In John 10:27 Jesus says, ““My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” We need to learn to listen to God’s voice. In the Christian life, it’s very important to distinguish between God’s voice and the little voice in our head.
Thirdly, God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through our circumstances. And this is where someone will apply the concept “God opened a door for me.” Or “God closed a door for me.” The important issue is whether God is the one opening the door, you are the one opening to door, or the enemy is the one opening the door. This is where knowing God’s word and going to Him in prayer is vitally important.
A final way that God speaks to us, and this list is not exhaustive, by the Holy Spirit is through godly counsel or the church. If you have prayed about an opportunity and sought God’s word, the next step is to seek godly counsel. Ask your pastor, your small group at church, or Christian friends that you love and respect. Ask people who know you well, what they think about your big life decision. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” We all need godly counsel. We need trusted spiritual advisors to make sure our decisions are lining up with God and His will for our lives.
Do I think God can open and close doors in your life? Sure. But you need to make sure that God is the One opening and closing the doors.