Newsletter #530 – Open Doors

Open doorWhen he was writing the biblical book of Revelation the author (John the Apostle) “saw a door standing open.” Then a voice said ‘Come up here’” (Rev.4:1).  Outside of mental illness, few of us hear voices from heaven but we do encounter open doors in life. These are doors of opportunity and possibilities even if they are not literal open doors that we see with our eyes. If you are a Christ follower you probably believe (like I do) that open doors can be evidences of God’s leading. In the past month I have talked with  two friends who, like the first Christian missionary (Paul), have encountered “a wide open door for a great work” (Acts 16:9) that presents a huge opportunity.  What can we conclude about open doors that apply to us and to the people with whom we work?

  • Wide open doors are rare. Some people never see them. Think of Moses. His burning bush call was unique and unexpected.
  • Open doors are rarely spectacular. They seldom appear like lightening bolts; more often they come as opportunities from other people or circumstances.
  • These open doors are not always messages from God. Think about this.
  • It is wise to be cautious about open door possibilities. Back off for a time. Pray for wisdom and discernment. Get the perspectives of a few trusted friends who will be honest.
  • But don’t back off for too long. Open doors don’t stay open forever. A long period of no response is like closing the door.
  • Often open doors are preceded by wilderness periods that can seem meaningless but later prove to be preparation times. Consider Moses in the wilderness.
  • I have no proof for this but it seems that doors most often open to people who are engaged with other people and ideas, looking for opportunities.
  • But often God’s open doors come unexpectedly to people who aren’t looking and  who  run when faced with a new challenge. Neither Moses nor David wanted to be leaders before they said “yes” reluctantly.
  • We need to be careful lest our desires for success and opportunities lead us to imagine doors that are not really open or even there.
  • Sometimes there is value in knocking on doors of opportunity or finding ways to open them.

What is your reaction to this? Please comment.


  1. Good reminder. I find open doors are “open” and don’t need to be broken down. When I’ve tried to break down the door it did not work out.

    Over 35 yrs of pastoring I have watched people kick in doors and then wonder why they were in trouble a short time later. There is a difference depending who opens the door.


  2. People who are engaged with other people often experience the cliché, “it’s not what you know, but who you.” This doesn’t negate what one knows. However, as you said, an open door comes from other people, someone informs another person of an opportunity. This is a wonderful aspect of being in community. Being known and knowing others.

    Another observation is this: a door of opportunity may open after correction or discipline. A life course correction leads to opportunities that would not be seen or available prior to the change.


    1. You are right on Loren. I especially like the second paragraph. New possibilities often open after we clear out some of the junk and clutter from our lives.

      Julie and I look forward to your visit that is coming soon.


  3. If there is any point to add, it will be that what’s behind the open door is almost never an easy path. This aligns with God’s character in pruning us through challenges and relying on him.

    I also find the second last point to be the most difficult to discern. When do we know if it is my voice or His?


    1. Thanks Ka. Moses is an example of an open door that was followed by challenges. It also is interesting to read all of 2 Cor. 16:8. “There is a wide-open door for a great work here, and many people are responding. But there are many who oppose me.

      The road forward is rarely easy, especially when we are making decisions about moving forward. I usually list the possibilities, seek God’s leading. Listen carefully to the people I trust. I also like the idea of stepping back and asking “Is there another alternative apart from the two in front of me?” Sometimes before saying yes or no I test out the waters, take a step forward but with no commitment, then make a greater commitment (either way) later.


  4. Perhaps it is so that people who are connected have greater audiences for their actions and dreams. It does not necessarily follow that they have more or better opportunities. They may keep their business private and yet be spiritually strong.
    Love to read your thoughts, Gary. I look forward to every post and refer back to them often.


    1. Thanks Deborah. I know that some of my posts are not as good as others and at times I am late. But I never give any thought to not doing this. Encouragement like yours, and the other comments, reminds me that at least some people read these. That is motivation enough to keep going (in addition to the selfish reason that writing these posts keeps me sharp and thinking creatively).


  5. Yes! I completely agree. Often times we think that God is just going to drop things into our lap or leave them at our doorstep. If you read the Bible, Christianity is pro-active. He calls us to “do”. Sometimes we just need to take that first step/risk & great things are waiting for us. I also agree that we proceed w/ caution. If we are headed in a way that is contrary to His word then that is not a door through which we enter.P.S. I am the reluctant leader.


    1. Hey Susan, nothing wrong being a cautious leader, even though the risk takers often get most attention (and sometimes fall the hardest even as they sometimes soar). Have you ever pondered how many of the great leaders in the Bible were reluctant (also the most unlikely), especially at the beginning? Consider David, Gideon, Moses, Esther, even Saul of Tarsus.


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