How can you tell if God is opening a door for you and if it’s from God or only you trying to kick the door open?
It Points to God’s Glory
No door that God opens will ever contradict Scripture. For example, a man who thought he was supposed to divorce his Christian wife in order to spend the rest of his life in mission work overseas is not from God and not supported by Scripture. This man could easily go and do missionary work overseas and not have to divorce his wife, or he could see if she wanted to go with him. Instead, he got an unbiblical divorce, so how is supposed to witness for Christ when he is contradicting the Bible and disobeying Jesus’ command to not divorce except for sexual immorality? Clearly, that is not God’s will because loving God means obeying His commandments (2 John 1:6). If someone says they know Him but doesn’t keep His commandments, he is not of God (1 John 2:3), and God calls him or her a liar (1 John 2:4). Obedience to God glorifies Him.
Confirmation From Others
Jesus is the one “who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” and sets before us “an open door, which no one is able to shut” (Revelation 3:8-9). If the door won’t open for you, then that door may not be the one God wants you to walk through. Jimmying the lock or trying to break the door down won’t work. Just pray for God to reveal to you which door you are to walk through and make it obvious to you so you’ll know for sure.
The Door Makes You Utterly Dependent on Him
If you can manage to go through a door and not need God’s help for anything, then you might be walking through a door in your own flesh and depending on the strength. If you’re not depending on God to open a door, then you are depending on your own self. That’s a bad plan, and I ought to know; I’ve done it! God wants us to be totally dependent upon Him because any work we do is for Him anyway and for His glory. Jesus said we can’t do anything without Him (John 15:5). We can’t even produce any fruit without Him, unless it’s wax fruit (John 15:4).
The Door Opens by Itself
I touched on this briefly in the second paragraph, but this is a bit different. You know the automatic doors you find at the stores? These doors open because they have an electronic eye and they can sense movement. In the same way, we might have to simply walk right up to the door that’s shut before we’ll know whether God’s going to open it or not. God may not open a door until He sees you walk right up to it. He may be waiting for you to “go” before you can “enter.” Perhaps He’s waiting for you to take that first step of faith.
Lines up with Scripture
If what you are sensing is an open door, and it’s not against biblical teaching, it could be God doing this. One lady who said the Lord told her to divorce her husband so she could become a missionary doesn’t know Scripture because God is against divorce and God would never contradict His own Word, so if what you are doing is what the Bible teaches, it could be all God’s doing.
Jeremiah tried to talk God out of him being a prophet of God because he thought he was just too young, but later, when Jeremiah thought about not speaking God’s Word, he said, “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot” (Jer 20:9). Like Paul, he could not help but preach the gospel, and wrote, “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1st Cor 9:16)! If you have an overwhelming passion to do something and you’d even do it for free if you had the ability, then God might be opening that door for you in whatever it is He’s calling you to.
There is no reason we should be breaking the law and be calling it “the Lord’s work.” Jesus never broke the law; in fact He fulfilled the law. The Bible commands “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom 13:1). The way God sees it, “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom 13:2). If you have to break a law to do something, even if you think it’s the will of God, it’s not….and it’s not a door God is opening for you.
Above all things, pray to God, seek His will, counsel with others, petition their prayers for God’s will for your life and trust Him and start taking steps to go through a door that might seem closed now but perhaps God is waiting to see in you’ll trust Him to take the first step. If a door opening glorifies God, if you receive confirmation from others, if the door makes you 100% dependent on God to open it, or the door opens by itself, if it lines up with Scripture, if it is an overwhelming passion you have, and if it is not against the law, then it could very well be that God is opening a door for you. Jesus Christ says, “I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev 3:8), so if you are obedient to God, then you are more likely to have God open a door without your help, but the door that is never touched is a door that never opens.