Many people make all of their decisions based on open or closed doors, but when God opens a door He doesn’t always say enter. A sign of maturity is to be lead by something greater than circumstances.
Jesus demonstrates this concept to His disciples right after the last supper. We pick the story up just after Jesus told Peter that he will disown him three times..
Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one… The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
– Luke 22: 35,36,38
Do you see the instruction given for them to get swords? The story continues later in the garden as Judas leads the chief priests and crowds to Jesus.
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
– Luke 22:49-52
Peter assumes that because he was told to get a sword that he was to use it. He did not give place for an answer contrary to his assumption and desire. It’s pretty clear throughout Jesus life that the disciples misunderstood the type of Kingdom that Jesus was ushering in. From their perspective Kingdom meant position and swords an end to the oppressive rulership of the day. It took Jesus death and resurrection for them to understand that Jesus came to change lives from the inside out and not to be served but to serve.
If we fail to see our circumstances from heaven’s perspective we too can fall in the same trap. There’s a temptation to interpret what the Lord has spoken through our own lens. If we let the Lord build that lens in our life then we have healthy growth, but if we have another lens it leads to destructive patterns. These patterns of thinking often attach themselves to a desire that is not born from the Spirit. The subsequent action born of such thinking only leads to pain and loss.
Thankfully Jesus is able to provide healing for the man’s ear. In the same way the Lord offers healing and valuable teaching moments to us when we move out ahead of His voice. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance and His grace that gives us the patience to wait not only for the open door but the right time to walk through that door.
Remember, when God opens a door, He doesn’t always say enter.