GOD NEVER CLOSES A DOOR WITHOUT OPENING A WINDOW
When times get tough for people around us, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what to say. We often resort to trite sayings like “God never closes a door without opening a window,” hoping to offer comfort and a sense of direction in times of uncertainty or disappointment. But since sayings like these are often misattributed to God and His Word, is the saying even true? When God does seem to close a door, how can we make sure that He’s the one guiding us to our alternate destination?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
1. What’s a common saying that you remember your parents or family members saying when you were growing up that was intended to teach a lesson?
2. Can you think of a time when someone intended to comfort you in a time when you were feeling down, but their words may have actually made things worse? If so, what do you think made the words fall short?
3. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Have you ever been faced with a big decision and prayed for God to guide you in the decision-making process. What was the result? Is prayer your first instinct in situations like these?
4. Read Psalms 139:23-24. Can you think of a time when you believe you got a clear directive from God, but it wasn’t what you wanted to hear? What do you believe are some of the dangers of approaching decision-making situations with our own motives in mind?
5. This week we learned that God cares about the relational part of our asking for His guidance. We may just be looking for a quick answer, but God cares about the journey we experience on the way to the answer, too. Share about a time when you prayed and were seeking God, and the journey to your “answer” ended up being particularly impactful.
6. Read Hebrews 11:6. When we’re looking to be led by God, it’s important to pray, move forward in faith, and to trust God. This week, think of a decision you’re facing, whether big or small. Pray with purpose, remove your own motives, and then move in faith and trust God to guide you. Share your experience with your life group, running partner, or family and friends.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Psalms 139:23-24 – Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Hebrews 11:6 – And it is impossible to please God without faith.
As you’re beginning to apply this week’s message, dig deeper by working through the “Surrender” outcome on Gateway’s Spiritual Growth Path at gatewaychurch.com/path. As we learned in the message, it can sometimes be difficult to discern whether we’re being led by God, but an important way to gain such discernment comes from surrendering to Him. The spiritual outcome addresses how to “live surrendered to the will of God, as shown in one’s lifestyle, decisions, character, life missions, etc.” Here’s an excerpt from the outcome:
…It may not be articulated and may not even be conscious, but the perception is that because God loves us he will be certain to fulfill our hopes and dreams. We will have the job, the spouse, the financial resources, and the opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us apart from Christ. In truth, God does love to bless us, but the further we get down the path, the more we learn the reality of what it means to “take up your cross and follow Christ” (see Matthew 16:24). Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), and John wrote that, “if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” (1 John 2:15). The Deepen follower of Christ has learned to fully surrender their desires, hopes, and dreams and to passionately seek God’s desires, hopes, and dreams…This depth of surrender is both powerful and profound, albeit at times painful. There is a peace gained that life circumstances can never give, and there is an empowerment that happens toward fulfilling one’s true calling and the good works “God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10).
To complete the spiritual outcome study in its entirety, visit gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/ surrender
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/surrender