Wednesday, 29 May 2013

What you choose to believe v's What you choose to do

Recently I have had many people tell me that God does not close doors, He only opens them and we get to choose which we walk through - sometimes we have an equal choice and the door we choose is a free choice, other times we disobey by not walking through a door God opens, but even in disobedience He'll open others for us so we are always in His plan.

I have felt uncomfortable with that train of thought, and reading in Acts today I think the Bible presents a different idea;

The Macedonian Call 
And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:6-10, ESV

That looks like closing doors to me.  I am sure Paul thought it a good and worthy idea to preach the Gospel in Asia and Bithynuia (Paul would have thought it a good idea to preach the Gospel anywhere); and you would think God would let His Gospel be preached anywhere.  Yet in God's sovereign plan He knows something that Paul does not - something that even all these years later (and the fact the story is part of Scripture) we have no clearer idea on what God knew) - and specifically closes the door to those areas.

The notion of all Christian's being in God's plan no matter what they do is a weak on.  This idea that God's plan is simply that people believe is not the extent which the Bible explains it.  Christians in the New Testament are constantly seeking God's will for what to do with their life in service to Him.  Most times that service calls on great personal cost yet the believers see it as well worth it to serve their God.

Is this idea I am hearing more and more just another take on the materialistic and watered down Gospel that is becoming so prevalent in our Australian and U.S societies today.  We want to gooey good feeling of being 'saved' but without the call to 'follow me' - in a sense give us the good life everyone else gets to enjoy and a hope of eternal comfort too.  All without understanding the cost Jesus paid, and the worth He put on our lives and the debt we can never repay.  This isn't an idea about works salvation, but about the change of life the Holy Spirit brings, so that it guides the choices of our lives, we don't.

It's easy to choose to believe in God, it is much harder to choose to let Him guide you and do what He says.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to attend a church where the Pastor encouraged us to stretch ourselves, step out if we felt/believed God wanted us to try a new ministry to serve. He also said that if we were wrong, God would close the door and that was fine too. This was an amazingly freeing attitude and released many people into ministry without the need to worry about failure. Some things worked very well and some folded. God did indeed close the door on some things. There was no shame in that! But even then, I believe God often uses our failures to achieve his purposes and to grow us.

The biggest issue is when people say "God told me to do ...(something)" so what can one say to that. Especially when it later appears that He probably didn't. Is there a need then to be able to give an account for why we feel that God wants us to do something? Eg. These verses keep coming to me over and over , two people confirmed separately to me that they feel I have a gift in this area, etc.

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