Open doors…Closed doors… How do I find where God wants me to serve?
2 Corinthians 2:12 “Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for in the Lord, I had no rest for my spirit…”
1 Corinthians 16:9 “But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective service has opened to me…”
Acts 16:6 “They (Paul and Timothy) passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go in Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them, they came down to Troas.
Colossians 4:3 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.”
Do you ever have a difficult time making decisions?
I do! I think most everyone does. If you are a Christian, you will have a strong desire to serve in some way. Maybe that desire has been crushed by someone and you haven’t recovered yet; but there WILL BE somewhere deep within your soul a desire to do what Jesus commanded all of us to do.
1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready with an answer for the hope that is within us.
How do you know when Jesus ask you to serve?
Paul said he had no rest in his spirit. I have found in my life that Jesus so gently and consistently brings to mind whatever He is leading me to do. My problem is always ME. Anxiety… me! NO! Not Me! I can’t do that! I don’t have skills for that. SKILLS! We live in a society where skills are elevated above God’s Spirit moving in power to enable us. Moses thought he had no skills! David was a shepherd: definitely that was not a skill set to be king.
Just having the unrest and and the desire doesn’t mean we are to march right out and complete the task and check the box. Done! No, wait……. Again, Paul’s example was to wait for an open door. Almost without exception, God will begin a work in you to prepare you for what is ahead. We must have ears to hear and recognize that He wants to do a work and use you to accomplish it. First, I believe Jesus puts a desire in our hearts for ministry. He gives each new believer a spiritual gift to be used in service. We have to recognize it and refine it. Sometimes, we might not be able to see our value ourselves but other believers will recognize it in us.
(Maybe another subject to study..Spiritual gifts for service.)
Not only will we have a desire for the ministry or service, we will hear about it everywhere. There will be a song, or a sermon or a friend will bring it up. Paul called it unrest. Jesus will continue to alert us to serve in some area. Jesus is patient but the call will get louder and louder in your head and heart!
Ok, what next?
We say, yes, Lord, and we begin the really hard part. We wait….and wait…and sometimes we wait some more. Why? We wait for Him to give an open door for effective service. It doesn’t always happen that way but the waiting gives us time to prepare. Study the ministry, know what would be required, watch another believer in action or talk with someone who has done it.
Great! Now we see an opportunity, an open door ahead, we seize it right? Nope, not until you pray and hopefully you have prayed throughout the process but prayer is the secret to moving forward. Even when the door seems open, stop and pray, pray, pray. Just pray long enough to get the go ahead from the Lord. (Word of caution here: Do not use the excuse of “ I am praying about it” to stop your reward of service!) How do you know when that is, you ask? You wait, until you get peace and you just know. Jesus will not leave you hanging. If He has called you, He will equip you to do whatever. I read the other day a quote that has stayed with me. “The task ahead of you in NEVER greater than the power behind you!” Good, isn’t it…. Jesus gave His Holy Spirit to dwell in us. He is the power behind us.
There are times also, when we are in a service and we feel we are having success in it and God calls us out and wants to move us somewhere else to serve. (This reminds me of the children in the wilderness watching the cloud by day and the fire by night. Move, set up tents, stay, no, get up, move the tents. ) This is one of the hardest calls because we tend to get comfortable. But Jesus is always in the transformation business. He will stretch us to do more and increase our boundaries. Serving Jesus is the greatest adventure there is in this world.
The opposite is true, too. Sometimes, we know we have a calling, we accept the calling, we begin the work. And it seems we are not getting anywhere. Failure… This is so hard to understand. We have given our all and it failed. What happened?? Unfortunately, we can’t see the big picture. Failure is not something we accept in America. Failure to us means we are not good enough. But Jesus always values us! We are always good enough. Problem for us is that we start to believe we accomplish the task at hand. That ole me-i-us virus takes us down!
In God’s kingdom, there are many paradoxes. It seemed to the disciples and all His followers that Jesus failed! But out of what seemed failure was much life. A seed falls in the ground and dies only to rise up from the soil in which it was planted to have new life.
Never give up! The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are rising up new life from failure. We may not see it but rest assured He does. If we have given our best in service to Him, the success is His and only looks like failure from our side of eternity. Jesus said He will build His kingdom. Success and failure are in His hands!
The fields are white for harvest. Get out here!!! The reward will be awesome!
https://youtu.be/tP27ySgbYLU What If I Gave Everything by Casting Crowns
You are so loved,