I simply want to push back a little on the widely accepted wisdom of closed and open doors being a valid method of determining the path you should take in your Christian life. Preparing to preach through Haggai, I came across the following little gem from Matthew Henry, which stirred me to think on and write about this subject:
…There is an aptness in us to misinterpret providential discouragements in our duty, as if they amounted to a discharge from our duty, when they are only intended for the trial and exercise of our courage and faith. It is bad to neglect our duty, but it is worse to vouch Providence for the patronizing of our neglects. - Matthew Henry
So next time it seems that God has closed or opened a door, check yourself. Hey, a beautiful woman's walking by: open door to lust! Or, man, I have a headache this morning which means God closed the door on me reading my Bible today. Perhaps those are obvious, but my point today is not a primer on how to determine God's will for your life. A closed door might really be closed; it might be time to move on. That will be easier to tell when you're dealing with clear matters of Christian duty; harder with applying God's wisdom to life decisions like who to marry, what job to take, etc. But let's make sure we don't assume things about open and closed doors. Interpreting providence is tricky business.