There was a time when my home was blessed with frequent visitors, and I often miss that season. Unfortunately today, guests are not as frequent; seasons change, children grow up, and friends return to the work force, but it blesses me to think that I have dear friends who have come often enough to feel comfortable just announcing themselves as they walk through the open door. Their presence, whether I am prepared for their visit or not, is always a blessing and they are always welcome.
Recently, I was reading in the book of Revelation when I came upon this verse in chapter three, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him, and he with me.”
I have grown up hearing this verse quoted, and I have read through Revelation before, but I have never paid close attention to the context of this verse. Last year I read a book by Norm Wakefield titled Anchored in Christ in which he encourages believers to take a second look at several scriptures and the context of those scriptures. This was one of the scriptures which he addresses in his book. As Norm Wakefield points out, this portion of scripture was addressed to the lukewarm church of the Laodiceans and in the verses just prior to this Christ is speaking to those he loves and encouraging them to repent. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19) It also occurred to me that those who hear and know the voice of the shepherd are the sheep that belong to him, so it seems possible that this scripture is actually addressing believers.
When I read scripture, particularly in the psalms of David, it seems evident that a man’s relationship with God can – and should – be as real as any other relationship, so whether He is addressing and calling those who already know Him to repentance or those whom the Holy Spirit is calling to repentance and relationship, when I read this verse I thought about how sad it would be for a dear friend to feel the need to stand outside the door of a loved one and knock.
If it is a pleasure for my earthly friends to come and enjoy a meal; if I find comfort and great joy in their fellowship; if I excitedly fling the door open wide at the sound of their voice; then how much greater should my joy be when it is the Lord who knocks at the door of my heart?
When I read of the things Christ offers to this church, “…buy of me gold tried in the fire,…white raiment,…that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see” I think I understand why believers may not be eagerly willing to open the door and repent. But just as I hope my heart would break to know I was deaf to the voice of a friend and blinded to their presence and therefore missed an opportunity for fellowship and to build a deeper relationship even if it meant I must repent and apologize for unintentional wrongs, I pray that the Lord would grant me the grace of a tender heart that I would not miss the opportunity for repentance, fellowship, and a deeper relationship with the one who loves me. And when my eyes have been blinded by pride and I have thought myself rich when in fact I am wretched and miserable, when repentance means I must purchase gold tried in fire, when repentance is not easy, it is my prayer that the Lord would never find the door of my heart closed to His voice.
“But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10: 2-4