An Open Door

Jesus Christ said to the church in Philadelphia, in ancient Greece, that which is applicable to us today: “I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it…” (Revelation 3:8). 

The Lord is swinging wide the door of opportunity for us to take bold dramatic steps. In His wisdom He is choosing to challenge our faith. In His love He is granting us an opportunity to think big and act bold. No person can shut the door. We can with cowering and timid spirit fail to go through it. Our negative nature can cause us to question and quibble. We alone can cause what the Lord has in mind to fail. We are often our own worst enemy.

Though no one can shut the door, individuals can refuse to go through it.

James 4: 7-10 lists some steps of preparation we each need to take. Therefore, now comes the practical personal part of this new year’s challenge.

With every challenge in life God provides the grace to deal with it. Notice in James 4: “He gives more grace.”  The Greek word translated “He giveth,”  is diomi in the present tense, meaning He keeps on giving. “My grace is sufficient for you” means it is perpetually sufficient. Not “was” or “will be,” but “is” sufficient. 

By “more grace” means grace that is more than sufficient for any mess you might be in.

Note, this grace only comes to the humble “God resists the proud.” Grace and pride are in constant conflict with each other. God “resists,” that is, He sets Himself in opposition to it. God is depicted as being actively  aggressively opposed to pride.

The full impact of the word “resist” is “God arrays Himself for battle against the proud.”

In contrast God is proactive in support of and “gives grace to the humble.”

First, positively. You must “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

This calls for a conscious willful action on your behalf. It requires you making a choice. To “submit” means to willfully put yourself under the command of God. 

We hear a lot about “rights,” human rights. How about God’s rights? Why should we submit to God?

Because He knows more and loves us even more than we love ourselves.

We should submit because resistance is futile,

We should submit because His rule is always good.

Each of us must respond to the self asked question: “Whom shall I serve, God or myself? Shall I make it my chief concern to do the will of my Heavenly Father, or shall I demand and assert my own way?”  

Second, negatively. “Resist the devil…”  The devil and his allies, the world and the flesh, have designed and do desire your spiritual destruction. 

If we make friends with the world, the world will give us temporary pleasures that gratify the flesh. Compromise with the world-system assures God’s displeasure.

The strong magnetic pull of the flesh can only be overcome by the power of God. When the Scripture says He gives “more grace,” it means He gives gracious plenty.

It is not enough just to resist the devil, you must “draw near to God.” If you do, He will draw near to you.

Take these actions, “Cleanse your hands” = outward actions, “Purify your hearts,” = inward action, (Vs. 8) and “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord.” (Vs 10)

God has set before us an open door. No person can shut it. You can refuse to go through it, however. Likewise, taking these steps can enable you to go through it.