Open the Door!

Years ago, young people were always afraid of being picked last. The humiliation of standing alone while your peers pondered which team was going to be stuck with you was devastating. Even being picked second to last was a victory.

In the age of online social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, the pain of being left out can now afflict millions more in far less time. Its modern name is FOMO, an acronym for the anxiety caused by the “Fear of Missing Out.”

To be honest, from time to time, I also grapple with the shadowy adversary of FOMO. I’m not overcome with it, but I am often concerned about what available blessings I may be missing in my personal relationship with the Lord. I’m not referring to salvation but, rather, the richness of unhindered fellowship with Jesus. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

From the beginning, God displayed a yearning for a close, personal relationship with those He created in His own image.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for Adam and Eve to walk with God in the cool of the day, surrounded by perfection? From the beginning, God displayed a yearning for a close, personal relationship with those He created in His own image. Even after Adam and his wife sinned, covered themselves, and hid in the trees of the Garden of Eden, the all-knowing God called out in pursuit, “Where are you?” There were consequences for their disobedience, but God covered their shame and promised a Redeemer who would restore the shattered relationship between the Creator and the created (Gen. 3).

Thousands of years later, while a multitude of Israelites waited in expectation, Moses climbed Mount Sinai to meet with God, who declared His longing to “dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). His desire was not to visit periodically but to stay permanently with them in a close relationship. He wanted to “meet” with them and “speak” with them (v. 22).

Although God cherished His Chosen People, light has no fellowship with darkness. The divine solution: a Tabernacle and atoning blood sacrifices that provided a temporary covering for their sins. Can you imagine what it would be like to pass through the brilliantly embroidered curtain inside the Tabernacle and walk into the very presence of God, who dwelt in the Tabernacle’s Holy of Holies?

Jesus is Knocking
With the dust of this sin-ruined world clinging to His feet, Jesus dwelt among the people He loved, the ones He came to seek and to save. He is Immanuel, “God with us.” And people beheld His glory (Jn. 1:14).

When His dusty journey on this planet was coming to a close, He spoke of the fellowship obtainable when He and true believers in Him were together. He promised to come again and receive them to Himself; and, if they genuinely loved Him, He and the Father would make their home with them. He prayed that they might be where He would be (14:3, 18–23; 17:24).

The disciples didn’t understand all Jesus said, of course. But I wonder what it must have been like for them to hear the heartfelt passion in His voice, as He was about to separate physically from those who were so dear to Him.

lowing His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus—“the Faithful and True Witness”—described the ancient Laodicean church as lukewarm (Rev. 3:14–16). Yet in the midst of sternly rebuking those He loved, He issued a compassionate call to repentance and restored fellowship (vv. 15–19). He told the church at Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (v. 20).

Though often used evangelistically, this mercy-filled invitation is more accurately applied to Christians within the church. It speaks of the intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ that is available to every believer. Jesus’ words vividly depict a closed door before which He is standing, waiting, knocking, and calling for access to the occupant’s life. The One who rightfully sits enthroned also stands patiently at the door of the wretched (vv. 17, 20–21).

Standing. Knocking. Calling. All are continuous expressions of His grace. He appeals to those inside who hear His voice to open the door and welcome Him in for a warm and cherished time of fellowship, as illustrated by the ancient tradition of sharing a meal. Words fail when it comes to explaining the banquet of heavenly blessings awaiting those who open the door. With this provision of fulfillment, security, and love, a life can move from spiritual leanness to overflowing satisfaction.

Facing Your Fears
In looking at Jesus’ invitation to the Laodiceans, it’s easy to see the many fears that keep the door locked and prevent people from welcoming Him.

For example, sometimes we fear having our sin exposed. But Jesus knows all about us (v. 15). He is like a bright light shining in a dark room, disclosing all that is hidden. King David understood this fact when he wrote in Psalm 139, “Search me, O God, and know my heart;…see if there is any wicked way in me” (vv. 23–24). Just as Adam and Eve heard God’s voice and hid, we, too, fear having our sin made public. So we close the door of fellowship and hide instead of letting God search the hidden things in our hearts.

Sometimes we fear facing the truth about ourselves. We often compare ourselves to others. But when Jesus enters and we stand next to Him, we see we are spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3:17). It isn’t always easy to look in a mirror. But the receptive heart overcomes the fear of confronting its true spiritual condition. Do we have the courage to accept the truth when we open the door?

And do we have the courage to accept correction? A receptive heart not only accepts the Lord’s rebuke and discipline but also repents and eagerly welcomes correction as an act of God’s love meant for our eternal benefit (v. 19). Are we zealous about living for Christ, receptive to the correction He may deem necessary in our lives?

Jesus knocks and calls out every day. Unfortunately, not every believer opens the door. Some are unwilling to face the personal cost of a deep relationship with the Master. The path to sanctification—living for Jesus—is a lifelong journey with daily ups and downs. The doors to our lives are often latched closed to the Savior.

Furthermore, God’s sheep often wander. When I was a pastor, I sometimes literally had to knock on the doors of the Lord’s wayward lambs to call them back to Him. Sadly, many never opened their doors to me or to the Great Shepherd of the sheep out of fear of embarrassment, fear of consequences, or unwillingness to face the truth. Their fears blinded them to the fact that the knock was an offer of mercy and grace from God to walk intimately with them on the journey of restoration.

Jesus is knocking. He stands at the door of our hearts, requesting access to unite with us in a fellowship of eternal proportions. He wants to abide in us and live through us more and more each day until He calls us home and transforms us perfectly into His own image.

From time to time, my wife and I have the opportunity to be with our young grandchildren who are separated from us by quite a distance. Because we love them, it is difficult to say goodbye. Even though we receive digital photos and connect online, it’s not the same as being with them. We know we are missing out on so much.

Is a casual relationship with Christ sufficient for you? Does it satisfy your thirsty soul, or do you want more? Perhaps we all need a healthy dose of FOMO to entice us to read the Scriptures more, pray more, worship more, and spend priority time with Him each day.

If you were asked how Jesus knocked at the door of your heart today, what would you say? Can you describe what it was like to feast on the blessings of His presence today? Nothing compares to a deep, personal, and satisfying relationship with Christ.

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