Opportunities and Adversaries!March 24, 2017
For a great and effectual door is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
— 1 Corinthians 16:9
Over the course of my ministry, I’ve had many great, effectual doors open for me to do the work of the Gospel. I’ll never forget when I received an opportunity to minister on television in the former Soviet Union. It was as if a great door had suddenly swung open to an entire nation — a door that had never before been opened for anyone else. I knew that I was experiencing something miraculous!
By faith, my wife Denise and I stepped through that door and began to preach the Word of God on television in this spiritually starved corner of the world. Given the former Communist regime’s violent campaigns against the Gospel in this region, this opportunity was as miraculous as was the Jordan River dividing for Joshua and the children of Israel! However, with this great open door also came a slew of adversaries, specifically dispatched by Satan to instill fear and doubt into my heart. The devil desperately wanted to prevent me from touching the lives of this spiritually oppressed people, so he positioned evil people with insidious plans to block my view from what God had in store for our ministry.
It was like the children of Israel looking at the Promised Land from the far side of the Jordan River. From that perspective, they saw only the fruitful land of blessing that lay before them. But once in the Promised Land, they had to fight giants of every kind before they could possess that land and enjoy the blessing. In the same way, if Denise and I had taken our eyes off the Lord during this tumultuous period — or if we had focused only on the problems and forgotten about the fruit we were pursuing for God’s Kingdom — I’m sure we would have backpedaled to get out of the situation.
However, we knew this opportunity was worth the fight, so we fixed our gaze squarely on the Lord. Girded with the armor of God and the power of the Spirit, we pushed through every obstacle and possessed the ground that God called us to take, and as a result, millions of souls began to hear the Gospel for the first time. We knew that only God could have opened this door!
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In First Corinthians 16:9, the apostle Paul wrote about the strategic doors of opportunity that open for the Gospel and the adversaries that usually accompany them. He said, “For a great and effectual door has been opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” Notice that Paul uses the words “great,” “effectual,” “door,” and “has been opened” to describe the opportunity that had been set before him.
The word “great” in this verse is translated from the Greek word megale, which means gigantic. The word “effectual” is the Greek word energes, and it depicts something that is powerful and ready to be set into motion. The word “door” is the Greek word thura, which typically refers to a door but in this context denotes a rare opportunity. Finally, the phrase “has been opened” is the Greek word anoigo, which describes something standing wide open. In other words, the door in question couldn’t be any more open! Thus, an alternate translation of Paul’s words in First Corinthians 16:9 could be rendered, “A gigantic, powerful opportunity is already set in motion and standing wide open….”
Furthermore, Paul continued by saying, “For a great and effectual door has been opened unto me….” You see, Paul knew that the particular door he was referring to had never been opened to anyone else, and he stood in awe of the unprecedented opportunity. Walking through these kinds of doors is impossible without divine assistance, and Paul was fully aware of God’s role in the matter. That is why he specified that this door had been opened “unto me.”
Paul’s prayer request in First Corinthians 16:9 was not for a door to open because it had already opened. His prayer request was to receive God’s wisdom to deal with the numerous adversaries who were attempting to come against him. Paul used the Greek word antikeimenoi to describe the vast number of “adversaries” that were sent to attack him. This Greek word described something set against Paul that was piled high and lying all around him. In other words, he was dealing with more than a few minor opponents; opposition was stacked high on every side!
The enemy will try his best to keep you from stepping through the gigantic doors of opportunity God desires to open for you. Satan is afraid of what will happen when “his” territory is invaded by someone fully equipped with a full arsenal of spiritual weapons! So know this: God will open doors for you — but He needs you to make a determined decision that you will walk through them, no matter the opposition, with the help of His Spirit. By opening the door, God has already done His part, which would have been impossible without His assistance. Now He beckons you to come dressed in the whole armor of God and in the power of His Word — and then proceed through that effectual door into new territory. It may look like enemies are everywhere, but it is simply a fact that the devil and his forces flee and collapse when they are subjected to a show of strong faith!
As I mentioned earlier, many great and effectual doors have been opened to me over the years to do the work of the Gospel. In each case, I knew that these doors were unique to me and had never before been opened for anyone else. And just as Paul experienced opposition, there were plenty of enemies that came against me with each opportunity. However, because I obeyed God, the devil was forced to move out of the way, and I walked right into the virgin territory that God had opened to me.
My friend, your situation may look frightful, but think about this: If God has supernaturally opened a new door for you — a door that’s never before been opened — He is not beckoning you to walk through it so you can fail. He is with you every step of the way, and He will empower you to defeat every foe and bring Him glory in that new territory that is yours to possess in Jesus’ name!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Heavenly Father, You have set before me a rare opportunity for the sake of the Gospel. You have not opened this door for me to fail or to fall short. You opened this opportunity specifically for me; therefore, I know that You have equipped me precisely with all I need to succeed. Your plan for my life and for this opportunity is one of victory. Thank You for the supernatural weapons You have given me through Christ. I ask for and gratefully receive Your wisdom to know what to do and how to do it. By the wisdom and the power of the Holy Spirit, I put on Your mighty strength to exercise the courage and perseverance I need to obey You and to force hell to move out of the way!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I do not draw back, but I move forward in the power of the Spirit to walk through the open door the Lord has set before me! I acknowledge that through Christ, I have wisdom for this task. Dressed in the whole armor of God and in the power of God’s Word, I can run through a troop and leap over a wall (see Psalm 18:29)! I will not be deterred, distracted, frightened, or intimidated. Greater is He that is within me than any adversary that seeks to oppose me. The Lord has gone before me to prepare the way; therefore, I follow Him confidently through this new door so I can carve a path for the Gospel and prepare the way for others to enter and follow afterward.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What miraculous opportunities has God set before you in your life?
- Do you remember times when God gave you new opportunities, but you paused — perhaps because you were concerned whether you had the guts and gumption to really do it — and as a result, the opportunity passed you by?
- What did you learn from that experience? If God opens another miraculous door in front of you, what would you do different now?