See that door? God might be waiting for you to open it yourself …
When working with people either as a pastor or a counselor, I often learn about their prayer lives and what they pray about. One thing stands out in the lives of many people: we routinely pray for God to do things that we should be doing ourselves.
Based on our prayers, we frequently want God to make our decisions and achieve accomplishments for us, like making us fit without good nutrition and exercise, fix our relationships without our changing how we treat people, and a plethora of other things that should be our personal responsibility to accomplish rather than God doing it for us.
This passing of the buck to God is classically captured in the wildly popular platitude about God opening some doors and closing others. We routinely fail to act until God either “opens a door” or “closes” another. We’ve turned God into being our personal door man! Instead of making a decision that is prayerfully considered and guided by the Holy Spirit and insight from the Word of God, we want God to create a door and open it — or close it — so that the responsibility falls on Him instead of us. We want God to use His limitless power to “magically” make things happen, rather than our having to learn, grow, work, and endure by using the talents and abilities God has given us to do things for ourselves.
But the responsibility for the decisions and actions in our lives belong to us.
Sometimes, God does “open a door,” and sometimes God will “close” one. But God isn’t going to open and close doors all the time. More often than not, God blesses us with a capable mind, wisdom, insight from His Word, and the Holy Spirit who teaches us truth. If we aren’t willing to take on the responsibility of our decisions and actions with those remarkable resources, then often we’ll be left with the consequences of failing to act.
It’s at those times we blame God for failing to open or close a “door” for us.
There is a “Peanuts”cartoon of Peppermint Patty turning to Charlie Brown and saying, “Guess what, Chuck. On the first day of school I got sent to the principal’s office. It was your fault, Chuck.”
Exasperated, Charlie Brown responds, “My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?”
Peppermint Patty answered, “You’re my friend, aren’t you, Chuck? You should have been a better influence on me.”
We often treat God as if we were Peppermint Patty and He were Charlie Brown, even though there could be no better influence in our lives than our Creator Himself!
If you want better relationships, do it what it takes to have better relationships. If you want better fitness or better health, do what it takes to be fit and healthy. Live life in Christ, and in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, but don’t expect God to live life for you. You have to think, you have to make decisions, you have to act, and you have to take responsibility for all those things. God is willing to direct you, and walk with you, but don’t treat Him like He’s your door man.