At various times in our lives, we play hosts to some special people in our lives. The guests could be strangers or could be family members who no longer live with us.
Before a guest visits us, the first thing we do is to create an appointment. The process can simply be a phone call, a text message, a letter or a verbal agreement at a previous meeting. The essential part of that agreement would be the date and time of the visit.
Once the appointment has been made, both the guest and the host begin planning towards the visit. Usually the guest will think of things such as what to wear, gifts to buy (where applicable) and plan the journey to ensure that he/she arrives at the agreed time.
On the appointment day, the entry of the guest to the home of the host is usually preceded by a knock on the door to request entrance. Once the host identifies the guest, the door is opened, pleasantries are exchanged and the guest is welcomed into the home.
What usually transpires afterwards depends largely on the chemistry between the guest and the host. The possibility of another visit occurring will be determined by the ability of the host to engage the guest and make them feel welcome.
Over two thousand years ago, God made an appointment with every one of us. Those of us who are Christians today were visited by God at one time and when we opened our hearts to Him, He came into our hearts and took up residence.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus declares to John in a vision, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20) This is a promise and it is not only for a set of privileged people, but for anyone!
Often, this verse is taken to mean God is knocking at sinners’ hearts and that if they open their hearts to Him, He would come into their hearts and save them. Taking that verse in context however, one would realise that this part of scripture was a letter written to the Church in Laodicea. These were people who were already Christians whom God was rebuking because they had grown complacent.
Laodicea was a prosperous city and as a consequence, the Church was wealthy so much so, that the angel of Laodicea was quoted as saying, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” (Revelation 3;17). It seemed that in Laodicea and unfortunately in many Churches today, Jesus has been locked outside the door. The Lord Jesus, who is supposed to be the guest of honour, is now standing outside and knocking the door of the Church asking to be let in to the very Church that He founded!
How comfortable will you feel, visiting someone and all they do is talk about how successful they are, showing you their trophies and accolades and not even taking time to know you better? Will you feel comfortable visiting someone who, while in your presence, keep having to pick up their phones every minute to talk to someone else, frequently interrupting your interaction with them? Unfortunately, this is the sad state of many Christians today yet the Lord patiently waits, knocking the door of our hearts to get our attention.
Jesus deserves permanent residence in our hearts. He paid the ultimate price for our sins and through His sacrifice, reconciled us to the Father. Added to that is the guarantee of a future with Him when he returns or when our time on earth is done.
How can we give Jesus permanent residence in our hearts?
Be earnest and repent - One translation says, “So be eager to do right, and change your hearts and lives” (Rev 3:19)
Seek God’s presence always - When we praise, we invite the presence of God. “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)
Listen - When your are in God’s presence, don’t spend all the time talking about yourself, God wants to talk to you as well. Remember, you
invited Him, He is the guest of honour and it is not polite to do all the talking while He merely listens. Learn to listen to God as well. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27-28)
Keep your heart clean and uncluttered - You don’t invite a guest and they have to struggle to get somewhere to sit because everywhere is cluttered with stuff.