Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Leads Us Along"1 (Lyrics)
Revelation 3:20 – 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. (NIV 2011)
My grandparents in England had a parlour at the front of their house that was never used. It contained their best furniture and their most valued knick-knacks. Although the room was dusted, it wasn't heated. It was cold and uninviting. Its purpose was for a funeral gathering, or in case the vicar happened to call. (He didn't.) An unexpected guest might be invited to perch on an uncomfortable chair and perhaps sip tea from a dainty cup. The idea was for the guest to leave as soon as possible. Visitors were supposed to believe that the rest of the house was just as nice. (It wasn't.) The room was a façade. It gave an outward appearance that was false.
Wealthy owners often left their property in the hands of servants who were expected to look after everything whether the owner was in residence or not. It wasn't an easy job. If the owner was away, servants didn't know when he would return. There were no telephones. He might have a journey of several days, with many unexpected delays. Whenever he returned, day or night, he expected food on the table, his bed aired, floors swept, and gardens cared for. He expected a good report from his neighbours, because his reputation was important. Servants must be trustworthy and faithful, and know their place. The house was their home, but it didn't belong to them. They were servants, not the master.
Imagine the owner's dismay and anger if he arrived to find his servants partying and his property dirty and neglected, or if he were shown into the cold, uncomfortable parlour to wait while his servants madly raced around the house trying to make up for lost time.
The famous picture of Jesus knocking at a vine-covered door is fascinating because there is no handle. Jesus waits patiently to be invited in. Do those inside hear Him knocking faintly, or has the party grown too loud? Have they become so engrossed in their own business that they no longer hear? Did they once catch a glimpse of Him through the window, but the windows grew so dirty that they no longer look?
Or do we sit politely with Him in the cold parlour, pretending that our house is just fine, thank you. He's not welcome to come in any further. We don't invite Him to join us for a meal. That would be too intimate, and we're just not ready.
We can delay too long. The Master already knows what's on the other side of the door. We can't hide anything from Him. Today, let's throw the door wide open, and stop pretending. Let's welcome Him in, and trust Him to clean up the mess in our lives.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for shutting You out. Whilst doing so, I've locked myself in. Come in and set me free. I need You to make my life fresh and new, the way You want it to be. Come into my heart today. Amen.