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Is Every Open Door Meant To Be Walked Through?
8 March 2013
Although this article can be read on its own, it is also a continuation of the previous two articles. You might like to read those first, in order to understand the context that the following thoughts were written in:
Because my recent emotional meltdown was so intense, stunning, bizarre and inexplicable, I have been desperately seeking some sort of logical explanation ever since. It was just too mind-boggling for me to simply shrug and say, "Well, these things happen sometimes." I can't just forget about it and go on with life without trying to find some understanding and even some meaning in what I went through.
As I have been pondering the whole episode for a week or two, I keep coming back to some fundamental questions. Specifically, was it God's will that I took this job, or not? And more generally, is every open door of opportunity a door that God wants me to walk through, or are some doors NOT to be walked through, even though they "seem" to have been opened by Divine action?
Because I'm a follower and disciple of Yeshua (Jesus), my thoughts turned towards Him and His example — were there occasions in Yeshua's life when He had an open door of opportunity, which would even seem Divinely provided, but He chose NOT to walk through that door? How did Yeshua decided what He should be doing on a day-to-day basis? The answers to these questions could very well be the answers I'm looking for in my own life.
Before we try to answer these questions, we need to lay a bit of groundwork first. Regarding Yeshua, many people believe that the way He lived, His great love, and the miracles He did, were only possible because He was God, and therefore we are not expected to follow in His footsteps and try to be like Him because, obviously, we are NOT God. But this view of Yeshua is a major and tragic misunderstanding of the entire New Testament, and of what it means to be His followers and disciples.
Yeshua did NOTHING in His life through his Godhood. Instead, He laid aside and emptied Himself of His Divine powers (see Philippians 2:5-8) and became fully human, just like we are. This is the amazing reality of the Incarnation. The life He lived and the miracles He did were ALL through the power of the Holy Spirit — which is why Yeshua's anointing with the Holy Spirit is made special mention of in all four Gospels (Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:32-34).
After His death and resurrection, Yeshua told His followers to wait for the promised Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:4-5). Then, in the rest of the book of Acts, we see example after example of His disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living the same life that Yeshua had lived, and doing the same miraculous works He had done. In fact, Yeshua Himself had told His followers: "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father" (John 14:12).
Therefore, following Yeshua's example is not something that's ridiculous and unreachable, because He's God and we're not. No, the life He lived was a fully human life, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and if we consider ourselves His followers, then we are called to follow His perfect example, however imperfectly we manage to imitate Him. This is one of the major reasons He became human — to not just TELL us how to live, but to come down and actually SHOW us and demonstrate it before our very eyes. Again, this is the teaching of the entire New Testament.
So, back to the original question — in light of all this, did Yeshua ever turn down great opportunities which were easily within His grasp? In searching through the Gospels, I have found some occasions where this definitely seems to be the case. Let's take a look at them one by one.
As we can see, Yeshua Himself sometimes had great open door of opportunity to minister to others, or to enter into His own destiny, but He refused to walk through that open door. Why is that? How did Yeshua decided where He should be going and what He should be doing on a daily basis?
He was not able to open His Bible for guidance, because He didn't own one — only the synagogues and temple would have a copy. And although He had memorized large portions of the holy writings, there is no verse that says, "When your friend is sick, wait two days until you go pray for him." Nor are there any verses which would tell Him, "On such and such day, you are to preach in that village instead of this one."
Yeshua lived His life the exact same way that He wants us to live our lives: in constant communion with the Father through the Holy Spirit. As He explained a number of times:
"Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Yeshua did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us!' So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there." (Acts 16:6-10)Well, this Bible study has turned out to be longer than I had expected, so I will save the application of it to the recent events in my life until the next article — The Dangers of Presumption.
This article is 11th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
On April 15, 2014, Vinay wrote:
Dear brother, I was greatly blessed by this article. I have a temptation to take up one open door which is not the will of God. Please pray that God would rescue from that. Regards, Vinay.