In the book of Revelation chapters two and three, Jesus dictated seven letters for seven churches to his apostle John. In the final epistle, Jesus chided the church at Laodicea for being lukewarm. Their spiritual fire had dwindled, and they were neither cold nor hot. Jesus spoke to them about being distracted by earthly riches and earthly conditions. He instructed the church to buy from him gold that had been refined in the fire, to put on unstained garments, and to ask him for a salve that would heal their vision and allow them to really see.
He said, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19 ESV).
And then Jesus said something that explains why the hearts within the church had grown so cold. He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (3:20). Can’t you just picture Jesus, standing at the door, and knocking? Well if you can, and it would be helpful if you did right here, you’d notice that the most obvious thing about this image is that Jesus is standing and knocking because he is on the outside, and not on the inside! Nobody stands at a door and knocks to leave a room. We only stand and knock if we are outside and we want to come inside! The Holy Fire Bringer was locked out and standing on the front steps!
What would you do if you woke up one morning to the sound of someone knocking at your door, and when you peeked out of the curtains, you saw that it was Jesus! Would you run and hide, or would you throw open the door and invite him in?
To make things even more interesting, Jesus goes on to say that if we open the door and let him come in, he’d bring breakfast! He said, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him (or her) and eat with him and he with me” (3:20).
Have you been feeling a little lukewarm? Distracted by the events strewn across the world stage? Feeling fear? Wondering how you’re going to make it through the day, or even the next fifteen minutes? If so then the question to ask yourself is, “Where is Jesus?” Is he standing on the threshold, yearning to come in and fellowship with you? Or is he like a hot flame, burning in your heart? If you’re not feeling the heat, it’s time to open the door and invite Jesus in!
This can be done in a very simple and practical way. Jesus promised that if we hear his voice and open the door, he will come in. He doesn’t say that we must somehow convince him to show up, or beg and plead with him to pay us a visit. He said that he’s already standing at the door, knocking and calling. All we have to do is realize he’s there, open the door, and invite him in.
We can do this by taking a moment, before we get out of bed in the morning, before we begin our day’s work, before we meet with a friend, or speak to a child, or answer the phone, or have lunch with a colleague, or walk to the store - we can stop for a moment, open our hearts and invite Jesus in. Ask him to come and take charge of every circumstance and event of our lives, no matter how big and no matter how small.
Enjoying a cup of tea? Invite Jesus to share it with you. Taking a walk? Ask Jesus to come along. Going to work? Remember to bring Jesus. Facing a difficulty? Don’t face it alone. Stand with Jesus and let him direct the outcome and be your shield.
Psalm 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (ESV).
Notice that the Psalm says that God is “very present.” The Hebrew for “very” tells us that God is not just present, but he is immediately, exceedingly, mightily, abundantly, vehemently present; while the psalmist assures us that God is exceedingly, mightily present in trouble, diversity, distress, anguish, tribulation. Jesus isn’t just standing around waiting to see what happens! He is immediately, powerfully present whenever we need him!
But he can’t help us if we’re distracted by the world (by both our “riches” and our “troubles”), like the lukewarm Laodiceans! Psalm 46:10 proclaims, "Be still, and know that I am God.” We must not allow the clamor of the world to drown out the sound of Jesus knocking. He is both our refuge, and our strength. All we need to do is be still, and invite him to come in to every situation and place it in his hands. Jesus won’t push his way in. And he will never leave us nor forsake us. That means he’s standing with each one of us right now and he is immediately, exceedingly, mightily available, as our helper, protector and guide.