Anyone in leadership understands the importance of an open door. We seek God’s will and pray He opens the door He intends us to enter. Too often we forget the open door for us can also be an opportunity for opposition from others.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church from Ephesus, he was trying to discern where God was leading him next. One option was for him to travel to Corinth and minister to the converts there. However, God presented His intention for Paul by providing ministry opportunities in Ephesus and made it clear Paul should remain in that city even when facing extreme animosity. To anyone else that might have been a good reason to leave for a less hostile region. But for Paul there was no question he would stay.
How many times have we faced this situation in our leadership roles? We respond to a clearly marked path only to be challenged by someone or something working to hinder what God wants us to do. When that happens, it is difficult to stay focused and not be sidetracked from God’s direction by what others are doing.
Despite a fierce rejection of the Gospel, through Paul’s commitment God established Ephesus as one of the primary cities from which the gospel spread throughout Asia. That is our encouragement when we are threatened and need an extra portion of spiritual strength to look beyond human interests to God’s desire for us. Our decisions can only be based upon what He is doing, not on the preference or opposition from others. No matter what, they cannot keep us from carrying out God’s will (Romans 8:31). The most rewarding spiritual work is often done in the crucible of persecution.