In a previous post, we talked about living out our faith and allowing God to lead us in the perfect plan that He has for our lives. I also mentioned, that when we step out in faith to see what God has for us next, I like to think of these possibilities as doors to try to see if God has opened them.
Today I’m going to explain what I mean, but before I do, there is something that we should chat about first. For this concept to be effective, each of us needs to know and believe in our hearts, that God loves us and does have a plan for our lives. We also need to believe that He is sovereign, meaning nothing happens by chance but all according to His perfect will.
God Has a Plan for Your Life
Even though we may know this in our heads, many of us still wonder if God really knows that we exist or what kind of plan He could possibly have for someone like me? Let me assure you that you can believe and trust in this, first and foremost because scripture tells us that it’s true, but also because as someone who has dared to step out in faith, I’ve had the glorious and sometimes scary, opportunity to live it!
But, I wouldn’t want you to take my word for it, so let’s look at Matthew 10:29-31 where Jesus tells us;
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear. You are more valuable than many sparrows.”
Therefore Do Not Fear
Here, Jesus is talking about how not one small sparrow will fall to the ground without His knowledge and that we are more valuable than many sparrows. His care for us is so deep that He knows how many hairs are on our heads. Even though I’ve read this scripture many times, there was one small part that I almost missed. “Therefore do not fear.” Fear is what keeps us from walking through the doors that God has for us or even seeking those doors out to be all that God has for us to be. But God is telling us, I love you so don’t fear, I’ve got this. Our fear to try something new or go in a new direction can be overwhelming, and something the enemy uses to keep us from moving forward. Don't let the enemy have his way, God is with you!
God has also made a plan for each one of our lives. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read; “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” So not only does He have a plan for us, but His ultimate plan is for a peaceful and hopeful future. Yes, we will go through hard times, some will be extremely difficult, but those are also a part of His plan because we learn from them, grow as believers, increase our faith, and become closer to our Heavenly Father.
How To Know God's Plan For You
Now that we’ve established that God loves us and has a perfect plan for our lives, how do we know what that plan is? Wouldn’t it be great if God’s Word had clear answers as to whether to take this job or that one, is this the person I should marry, or in what way we should serve Him? Scripture does give us some clear direction in many areas of life. Such as not taking a job that would cause us to sin or marrying someone who is not like-minded in the faith. But what if the choices before us fall in line with scripture, how do we decide which path to take?
This is where the idea of open or closed doors comes into play. Many of us are familiar with the passage in Matthew where Jesus is facing His crucifixion and while in the garden of Gethsemane He prays;
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.
Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
If Jesus prayed this to the Father, so should we! It is in our own best interest to bring whatever our next step is before the Father to ask for His will to be done and not our own. This is when I pray for God to open the doors that He would have me pass through and close the ones that are not of Him. Whether it be a career change, what house to buy, what school to send my children to, or how to serve Him in ministry, I want His will for all of it and to allow Him to shape my life.
Prayerfully Move Forward
To find out which door God has opened for us, we must be moving forward. This requires action on our part to step out in faith and walk forward. We can’t sit on the couch day after day, praying for God to give us direction or to change our lives while the door He wants us to walk through is across the room. This may require us to muster up all the faith we have to step out of our comfort zones, to put ourselves out there and be downright brave, but it’s well worth it. Let me give you an example.
I cried out to the Lord, I’m here, ready and willing to be used by You, why don’t You want me?
In the Gideon ministry, you know the people who put the Bible’s in hotels and motels, there are 4 cabinet positions in each state association that are elected by the membership every year. My husband and I have been a part of this ministry for years and I’ve always been impressed with their voting process and prayer that seeks God’s will for who will fill each position. Even so, in our humanness, it can still feel a bit more like a popularity contest. Because of this, oftentimes people will not allow themselves to be nominated for fear of not being chosen. However, if we look at it through God’s eyes, it’s more like casting lots like was done in biblical times to determine His will. This is something I’ve learned the hard way.
Over the years I’ve allowed myself to be nominated for several positions in the ministry, some of which I was elected for and some I wasn’t. The first time my name went into the ring, I was not elected and not just for one position, but two. I wanted so badly to take what I thought was the next step in serving the Lord in the ministry and thought surely He would want me to serve in one of the two positions I was nominated for. When I wasn’t elected for either of them, I was devastated! I cried out to the Lord, I’m here, ready and willing to be used by You, why don’t You want me? But it wasn’t that He didn’t want to use me, it was just that He had a different position in mind, one that I realized later was more suitable for me and I thoroughly enjoyed.
As devastating as this was, it taught me a valuable lesson. That it’s ok to put myself out there, to walk forward and see if God has opened the door for me to walk through. If He hasn’t, if I don’t get elected, or I’m not hired for the job I applied for, or don’t get the house I thought I just had to have, it’s not because I’m not good enough, have failed in some way, or that God doesn’t love me, it’s just that it wasn’t a part of His plan for my life. There is something else out there, I just can't see it yet.
Fear is what keeps us from walking through the doors that God has for us or even seeking those doors out to be all that God has for us to be.
Not long ago, my husband and I put this concept into action. You see, we’ve been struggling financially for quite a while, he wasn’t happy in his job and we had both been working our full-time jobs and a side business just to make ends meet. Then a position opened up at my work that I knew he would like and had the potential to make the amount we needed. So he stepped out in faith and applied. All the while, both of us were praying for God’s will in this and to only have him get the job if it was a part of God’s plan. He was offered the position and accepted it. However, much to our surprise, when he gave his notice at his current job, they did not want him to leave. So much so, that they offered him a slight job change and a large salary increase. We were floored and amazed at what God had done. I can’t help but think of God’s promise in Ephesians 3:20,
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us,”
That was certainly what God did in this situation.
I’ve practiced this concept enough times now that it’s become my go-to when faced with determining God’s direction for any area of my life. Whether it be a major life change such as where to live or my career path, or in just the daily challenges of dealing with family matters or issues with coworkers. I thoroughly believe that if we pray for His will and seek it by prayerfully moving forward, He is faithful to guide us in His perfect will. I pray that this promise from the Father will help you believe it as well; “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
Faith Lived Out
What kind of decisions, life changes, or struggles are you facing today? Seek God’s word on the subject. Does any part of your plan to resolve the issue or plans for the future go against His word?
If so, then it’s not a part of His will, move on and ask the Father to show you another way.
If it does coincide with scripture, then patiently move forward asking the Lord to open the door only if it is His will and to close it if He has something else for you. Now comes the hard part, be ready to accept His answer, whatever it may be. Trust Him for the outcome.