Shut the door in ’24: Is Self a God for you?

Teaching Resources

Trina and I always seek The Lord at the beginning of the calendar year to try and understand what God wants for us and the different parts of His Body that we serve.  It is unusual, though not unprecedented, that He speaks to me a phrase that encapsulates a vision for the year.  Leading up to the new year I heard the phrase, “Shut the door in ‘24.”  While waiting on The Lord and seeking His understanding about this it has been interesting to hear what others are sensing for the coming year.  My dear friends and colleagues in ministry, Blesson and Grace Kallimel, have heard that 2024 is the year of open doors.  While on the surface these two words may seem contradictory, I believe that they are complementary.  Closing the wrong door can make the right one much clearer and, by extension, more accessible.

Become firm on WHO is the right door

John 10:7-11 NASB95 says,

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. [9] I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

A primary point of emphasis in this description is that Jesus is the door for the sheep.  In Christ’s days on earth, polytheism, the worship of many gods at one time, was common in society. Adhering to such a belief system would make it convenient to go from one source to another when you either don’t get the answer you want or hear the advice at the speed you want it given.  But just a little bit of reflection should reveal the potential flaw in this approach.  To do things in this manner doesn’t take the counsel of a supernatural source, rather it seeks to warp the idea of seeking divine help into a way of satisfying selfish desire.

It isn’t a big extension of the polytheistic principle to substitute the worship of more than one formal god, say Zeus and Apollo of Greek Mythology, with the worship of Christ UNTIL He leads where you don’t want to follow.  In this scenario, SELF becomes a God that we could defer to rather than Jesus.  

What are the consequences of a Christian who chooses according to selfish desire rather than the leading of Jesus? James 3:14-16 NASB speaks about these consequences very plainly,

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. [15] This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. [16] For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

Words like demonic, disorder, every evil thing sound like pretty good paraphrases for the doors in John 10 described as thieves and robbers.  Self centered living opens up anyone, including Christians, to be harmed by the devil.  Satan can and will steal from the fullness of God’s purpose and blessing for our lives as long as we defer to our choice over what God is telling us. The enemy will almost certainly distort God’s voice to us if we continue to insist on self rule.  YOU CAN EASILY STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING! Deliberately ask The Holy Spirit to do a deep dive into your heart to reveal where selfishness is leading your decisions and repent.  Don’t stop with one prayer, make this a regular priority in your relationship with Him in 2024!  For many, this is the beginning of anything substantial and eternal happening in and through our lives this year!

Dispelling lies about God’s character

Because it is plain to see that God’s plan and purpose for our lives moves further away the more you do whatever you want, why do people still hold onto the right to act selfishly?  Part of it is the falsehood that Jesus doesn’t really have our best interests at heart.  Satan used this in the original temptation (see Genesis 3) and he is still finding new and creative ways to do the same thing today.

Not only does John 10 describe Jesus as the opposite of someone who would take advantage of you, it describes Him as good.  It goes without saying that anyone would be a lot more likely to trust someone that they knew had their back, so how can we be certain that God loves and cares for us?  The answer is really simple: we examine what He has already done on our behalf.

He gave up heaven to live among us

Philippians 2:5-7 NASB95 tells us,

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, [6] who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

In other words, Christ was already in matchless splendor before He came to earth.  Imagine living in the middle of perfection with no physical needs or sinful distractions hounding you.  What would it take to voluntarily leave this?  A willingness to leave being a worshiped king in the midst of God’s Glory to become nobody, even born among animals (see Luke 2:7), isn’t the move of an uncaring, self centered person!  Jesus had to care an awful lot about you and me to be willing to humble himself to such a great extent.

The ultimate sacrifice

Philippians 2:8 NASB95 continues,

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus was willing to give up both His lofty position and to endure the torture and death that came on a Roman Cross.  This ultimate sacrifice, just so that mankind would have the possibility of recognizing the truth, should be eternally profound to us.  Honestly weigh this action against your own humanity.  Would you die for anyone, let alone people that hated you (Jewish Leadership of His day) or people (you and me) that are thousands of years from even being born? 

Jesus’s acts of contrition and love on our behalf are worthy points of reflection at the beginning of 2024.  You may mistrust authority for any number of reasons, but it isn’t true that you can’t trust Him.  He’s already done more for you than you are capable of doing for yourself.

Take advantage of the opportunity

The dynamic of John 10, a choice between following the path led by a good shepherd or the self gratifying choice presented by a thief is a regular occurrence in The Bible (see Adam/Eve, Jesus’ temptations, the book of acts, etc.) and even in your own life (honestly assess your own personal experience).  Let’s invite God to shore up any questions we have about His character or any areas we trust ourselves more than Him!  He will shut the door to lies and deception and clearly show us where He wants us to go!

Comments 4

  1. This is such good guidance for 2024. Your scripture encourages and supports Christ as the door to peace, love, comfort in the midst of chaos.

  2. Great word of truth! Trusting God to shut the doors of deception and open the door of His plan. The Lord has been really speaking to me on not looking back, but to keep my focus on Him….to keep moving forward into the plans He has for me! Spot on!

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *