In life, we are faced with many choices. Though we could rely on emotion or what looks the best on “on paper”, it proves more useful to seek Godly wisdom and truth before moving forward. Many times, we pray for open doors but there are also times when the Lord closes doors. Whether for a short time period or indefinitely, we should intentionally about listen for the Lord’s voice on these matters. It is in recognizing that He has a plan for us and purposefully allowing Him to lead that we will have clarity. We can all reach the point where we can easily recognize when to accept or decline opportunities. Time, prayer, and wisdom are required when facing choices that are not obvious. However, remember, not every good choice is not a God-choice.
With this in mind, the following signs may be God’s way of telling you He’s shutting a door in your life:
1.) Goes against scripture
If you are pursuing an opportunity that causes you to go against the Word of God, this is an obvious sign. Anything that causes you to compromise your integrity, lie, steal, or any other thing we find in Galatians 5:19-22 should be avoided. Truthfully, why would a perfect God lead us into a sinful situation? He wouldn’t do so. Instead, it would be our own selfish ambition, the opinions of others, fear or own flesh that would encourage us to follow something that we know is not right.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17
2.) Anxiety Over the Decision
The Holy Spirit gives us peace. Oftentimes, when God is closing a door but we are unwilling to let it go, it produces a lot of anxiety. We can’t sleep, we rehearse the consequences, and we have a short temper from all the stress. This level of irritation could be your instinct telling you that it is not safe to move forward. Pray for peace and clarity in your decision. However, having a willing heart to surrender the opportunity. Your choice to release yourself from the situation could be the key to your peace.
3.) Red Flags
Sometimes we ignore the obvious. We presume the enemy is trying to irritate the situation. Yet, the Lord is sending all the signs that something isn’t quite right. Pay attention to the red flags that tell you it’s time to run! For example, suppose you are considering taking a new job. At the interview, the boss is an hour late, the money offered is significantly less than your value and the company has numerous bad reviews online. Certainly, you could continue to “walk through the door” to try to fix the company’s report or you could freeze the process. This is not giving up, but wisdom.
Many times, we keep going forward despite the warnings. We fear that there won’t be a better opportunity and settle. When we feel like this we need to remember, God desires good things for His children. It's not His desire that you walk through life in misery and frustration. Rather than compromising and ignoring the signs, seek the Lord for the plan. His plan will always supersede our expectations!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
4.) The Money Doesn’t Line Up
Although finances can be a superficial reason for a door to close, it is an honest one. God can certainly bring financial provision in any way He chooses. However, there are also times when the strain of funding becomes a clear sign that the Lord wants us to do something new. Remember, we are called to be lenders not borrowers, above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:12-13). In other words, if our business has tanked to such a level that there is more debt than business or our new job opportunity is far less than what’s needed to handle your expenses, this may be a clue that the Lord wants to close the door. Years ago, as a mother with four small children, I saw this firsthand. Though I desired to work outside the home, it would have cost me thousands of dollars in childcare monthly to do so. In the long run, I calculated that the gas plus the cost of childcare deducted from the pay of the job would have only left me with several hundred dollars. The money was not sufficient for the sacrifices that would need to be made. So, although we shouldn’t rely on the financial aspect, this can be one way to determine if we are operating in wisdom.
5.) Outgrown the company
Some doors may close while you are already in the building. In other words, there are times you are fully involved in an organization or situation and the Lord is leading you to remove yourself. Many times, this happens because we have matured or are in a new stage of life. For instance, if you were
part of a community for singles and are a newlywed, your life stage requires you to move forward. Or perhaps you are in a small group for new believers and now are very strong biblically, it may be time for the Lord to transition you to a new group. As we grow and move to different stages of our life, we must be at peace with moving out of the way and allowing someone else to “take our seat”. In doing so, we can be properly positioned for what God wants to do with us at this point in our life. Crowds that we fit into years before may no longer suit us. Rather than holding on for dear life, give yourself permission to leave the building!
6.) Forced entry
If you have to force your way into the door, it may not be for you. Sometimes we can want something so bad we are willing to break rules, nag those in charge, and find loopholes to make it happen. Although there is definitely a Biblical principle of being persistent (Matthew 7:7), we should do so with wisdom. Sometimes the Lord is saying “no” because He has something better for us. Rather than force something the Lord is removing, allow the Lord to lead the way.
7.) A better opportunity
One sure way to know the Lord is closing a door is if a better one opens up. This is especially true if you have been praying and seeking the Lord in a specific area. Sometimes the Lord is answering our prayers, but we are too afraid to go for it! We have to remember that the Lord delights in every detail (Psalm 37:23). In our current society, we tend to dismiss things that are “too good to be true.” However, as children of a good God, we cannot have this perspective. This is a defeated perspective and insinuates that the Lord can’t deliver great things to us. We should expect the Lord to answer our prayers and not allow doubt or insecurity to cheat us out of our blessing.
8.) Answered Prayer
In all circumstances, the number one way to know God’s will for you is through communicating with Him. The more you spend time with God, the more effectively you will be able to hear and know His voice. When we tune in to His voice, we will be able to easily recognize when an opportunity is simply a distraction. Prayer is our reminder that God is in charge and that we submit to his lead. Pray specifically for wisdom, peace, strategy, and clarity before every major change. After all, if you pray, He will listen. Our part is to listen in response.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Thank you for being the One who watches over my life. You don’t miss a detail and I praise you for caring about me and instructing me along my path. I ask that you speak clearly concerning your next move. Teach us Lord to know your voice and respond appropriately. Close every door that does not reflect your heart for me. Give me a willing to heart to surrender every area that you are removing. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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Excerpts of the above article were originally written for ibelieve.com.