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Paul has become the super hero of Christianity. We like to talk about all the great things he did for Christ, about all the churches he planted, and how faithfully he suffered for God. But if we really stop and study his life, we won’t see very many open doors. That’s not to say his work didn’t produce amazing results. What I’m saying is his road to obedience wasn’t this peaceful, well-paved, flower-lined path we’d like to see in our own lives. It was fraught with intense, life-threatening obstacles at every turn. Hop on over to Acts and tell me you don’t see all the heavily fastened dead bolts–prison, beating, slander, ridicule. (Pay special attention to Acts 20: 22-28) Paul didn’t wait for a nice, wide, open door. He looked for those tiny cracks then worked, with God’s leading, to wiggle himself in. Not because he was forging his own way with single-minded stubbornness, but because he knew-knew-knew God’s will and focused on obedience with unwavering determination. Walking with intentional blinders on, he kept his eyes on his Savior and not the obstacles all around him.
The result? Many came to salvation, and numerous churches were planted. I’m not saying that closed doors don’t exist or that we shouldn’t pause for re-evaluation every once in awhile. What I am saying is if you know in your heart of hearts God is calling you to do something, don’t let anything get in the way. And don’t expect the obedience journey to be easy. When doubts and obstacles arise, put your blinders on and withdraw within, closing off everything else until that still, small voice shines through. Then, once God has confirmed or perhaps reaffirmed your route, walk forward in confidence.
What about you? Do you feel like you’ve hit a closed door? Maybe you have. Or maybe, God is stretching and growing you, developing perseverance while drawing you closer to Himself. There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s through consistent prayer.
I love to pray Romans 12:1-2, which says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
As we come to God in prayer, offering all we are and have to Him, He begins to transform our thinking, aligning our will with His. Then we can move forward in confidence, trusting He will redirect us if need be. What about you? Where are you in your faith journey? Have you hit a few hurdles and speed bumps, maybe enough that you’ve considered turning back? Could be. But what if He’s asking you to persevere and keep stepping?
Thank you for that wonderful devotional.
Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
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Jennifer Slattery is an avid reader who enjoys long, leisurely strolls with her husband; mall dates with her daughter; and chatting with her girlfriends over hot, flavored milk with a hint of coffee. She writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions. She also writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that broadcasts via radio waves in 32 countries. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her serving in her church, community, or home.
Connect with her online at her blog, http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.comblogblog , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/Jenslattery