Open Doors & Broken Noses

Jon Burgess


“But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:8-9‬


The Apostle Paul makes it clear that he gets his marching orders from God. Though he had planned on visiting the church in Corinth he would now extend his stay in Ephesus because of an open door. He makes it clear that this open door includes open opposition. Acts 19:9 describe this opposition as very vocal: "some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way". For many Christians this kind of opposition would be used as proof that God had closed the door in Ephesus and that Paul should pack his bags and move on. The word "effective" Paul uses to describe this open door from God denotes something at work, that God is actively moving in the hearts of people. It's the same word we get our English word for "energetic". Paul wasn't going to put energy into leaving Ephesus. Instead he was going to put all his energy into joining in with effective activity of the Holy Spirit. How many opportunities have we missed simply because we gave up at the moment of opposition? We then use the spiritual jargon of "a closed door" to justify our idle inaction or premature retreat. What if we have been getting our "open door" theology all wrong? What if opposition isn't a sign that God has closed a door but rather a strong possibility that God is up to something big right there? That we aren't to back up or take off, but are to stay put and press through. If the enemy sees the door God has opened what makes us think he is just going to stand there and not try to slam it in our faces?


I have five boys. Slammed doors are a normal part of our lives. Sometimes the slammed door is from a temper tantrum (which doesn't ever bode well for that child). Most of the time though the slammed door is from the boys playing around. It could be car doors, bedroom doors, front doors, or back doors. One boy trying to slow down the pursuing brother will use the door to his advantage. It's an effective deterrent but often leads to groans, cries, and screams from smashed noses, fingers, and/or toes as the boy pursuing never saw the slammed door coming. We don't either. Maybe we should. Maybe we should be surprised when there isn't spiritual opposition rather then being surprised when there is. We don't fight against flesh and blood but there is a fight nonetheless and it often involves flesh and blood being used to discourage, dissuade, divide, or downplay what God is doing. Should we just walk the other way if the front door is slammed in our face? Should we just give up and take it as a "sign" that we shouldn't go in the house any more? My boys wouldn't. Neither should we. Even if there was pain involved. Rather, ESPECIALLY if there was pain involved, my boys would be all the more motivated to get in that door and effectively address the situation. What we are talking about though isn't some petty game between brothers. This is a battle for souls. Let's stop using opposition as proof that we have missed it and instead see it is proof that we have hit it! In fact Paul describes it this way in his second letter to the church in Corinth: "Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective (there's that word again) for enduring sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation." (2 Cor 1:6)


Lord, forgive me for the times when I have missed what you are doing around me simply because of the pressure or pain I was feeling on me! You open the doors but You call me to keep walking through them. You ask me to lay down my plans so that they are not determined by comfort or convenience but rather according to Your Cross. You endured more and suffered more then I ever will. You encountered opposition that I will never have to face. You rolled the stone, You opened the door, and I'm walking through it no matter what comes against me!

Devotions for March 31

Judges 9,10
Psalms 49
1 Corinthians 16

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