OBSTACLES AND CLOSED AND OPEN DOORS!

19 10 2018

Open Closed DoorsIf we are going to love others like Jesus loves us, we had better be ready for some opposition. We need to eagerly and constantly grow in our intimacy with God. Our union with Him takes us in the right direction because we are in the holy connection with the One who loves us so. At the same time, we need to become educated in the fact that we all have an enemy and the goal of the darkness is to keep us from walking in the light of the Lord in any way possible. When we behave as if we are clueless and act irresponsibly, we walk right into the trap and become prime candidates to become nothing more than victims of the devil’s schemes.   

This is why it is essential that any servant of the Lord must consider that if he or she is serious about becoming a strong, active and learning follower of the Lord, they must not be lulled into sleep by thinking it will be smooth sailing. Hell longs to rock the boat of Heaven. That evil, slimy, old lying serpent named Satan, that fallen angel formerly known as Lucifer, will do anything he can to block Believers from reaching their goal.

We’ve been studying 1 Thessalonians on the weekends here at The Lighthouse Church. In my most recent message, we came to a passage in Chapter 2 where we discovered how Paul was separated from his beloved Thessalonians even though he yearned to be with them. His heart was with them. His parental instincts wanted to take care of them. The Pastor in him wanted to make sure that they were growing and thriving in their faith. He had been ripped apart from his precious people. More than once he tried to return to finish what he started. Still, Paul had no success in seeing that dream realized. What was holding him back? The Bible tells us that Satan blocked his way. That is a specialty of the accuser. We should never be naïve about that. 

Paul tells us in another letter of his, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Paul was very discerning. Why? Because we learn in the Book of Acts that there were other instances when it was the Holy Spirit who was opening and closing doors. We learn in Acts Chapter 16, verses 6 and 7 the apostle Paul was moving on his missionary enterprise when he was stopped by the Holy Spirit.  Acts 16:6 informs us that Paul and his associates passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word in Asia. When they had come to Mysia, they were trying to go to Bithynia and the Spirit of Jesus didn’t permit them. This wasn’t the enemy shutting the door, here he is being stopped by the Holy Spirit.   

In Thessalonians, it was Satan setting up obstacles. In Acts it was the Lord opening and shutting doors. I believe that every person who calls themselves a Christian must learn the difference between circumstances when it is God shutting a door and times when the devil just blocks the way. In our relationship with the Savior, we need to know the difference. Since both are possible, how can we get to the point where we are able to determine who is who and what is what?

When God shuts a door, it is usually to open up a new path for us to travel upon. God never calls His Children to nothing. If it is the Lord saying, “No” to us, we need to then prayerfully uncover what He is saying, “Yes” to. When the enemy gets in the way, it is to lure us into quitting or stopping or rolling over and giving up. God calls us to His will. Satan throws obstacles in the way of God’s will. So if you are pursuing Holiness, and something gets in the way, ask “God, if you are shutting this door, what new marching orders do you have for me?” If you receive the answer that you need to keep doing what you are doing, then you may conclude that it isn’t the Lord shutting you down; but it is the enemy trying to steal, kill and destroy what God is doing in you and through you!

The enemy can’t stop what God has ordained to do in the long run. But there is something that he can do.  He wants to hinder the progress. The word Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 2 to describe the demonic activity was “block.” In the original Greek translation, it is better translated “hinder” or “thwart.” It is a very interesting word. It’s a military word. It means to dig a trench or to break up a road. If your army is sitting here and the enemy comes along, one of the ways that you would defeat the enemy is by making sure he can’t get access to you. What you would do is send your soldiers out to dig a massive trench. They can’t cross the trench without recalculating their strategy. Block means to go out and break up the road. Block means to rip that baby to shreds.  

Ancient roads would be made of stone. Tearing it up hindered speed. Paul says, I want to come, but Satan’s breaking up the road. Satan’s dug a bunch of trenches, I can’t get there… yet! You see the enemy can slow you down but he can’t make you stop. Hell’s hope is that you will quit. You will take his obstacles as indestructible and that would be a huge mistake. Yes, the enemy slowed Paul down but he didn’t stop God’s will. In Acts 20, we see Paul does get back to Thessalonica. The devil meant to get Paul to turn in his resignation but all he could do was slow him down and force the warrior Apostle to have to trust God to navigate the way to seeing God’s will be done.

God’s will is to bring people to Jesus and to use us to bring Jesus to the people. God’s will is for all of us to grow up in our faith by being in the process of always making progress in our relationship with God. God’s will is equipping us to become an important part of fulfilling the purpose. He never called any of us to be spectators or have the gift of sitting on the bench. If obstacles start appearing because you are fervently going after doing God’s will, when the door shuts and there is no definitive direction to accomplish the above in another way, you can bet that you are being sucker punch by the prince of darkness. 

The servant of God must understand who God is and what God wants and he or she must understand the tactics of the enemy. We’ve got to recognize the distinct difference between God shifting gears and plain old ugly satanic opposition. Remember this, though Satan is opposing us, he is controlled by the overruling providence and sovereignty of God. He can only do what he can do within the limits that God allows. God allowed him to deal with Paul. Why? In Paul’s weakness he was made strong.  What is life making you? How has the enemy tried to break up your road?

You may be facing obstacles today. Every child of God will! But God is always at work and if you turn your eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face, the things of this earth will grow strangely dim and the light of His glory gets you back on your feet! And what the enemy thought would stop you will actually make you strong enough to not accept defeat. He tried to take Jesus out with Judas but it only got Jesus to the Cross where the Author of Life would finally disarm death for all of us, once and for all!

Don’t let your story be preempted by the obstacles! You are a child of God and you will finish what he started. Get up and be reminded that you are not done in any way shape or form!

 


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20 10 2018
Linda Picanza

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