Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Is Jesus knocking at the door of your heart? I’ve often heard that question asked, generally in the context of the end of a church meeting and generally aimed at those who are on the fence about whether or not to place their trust in Jesus. The passionate evangelist will tell the congregation that Jesus is knocking at the doors of the lost, and the sinner who opens their heart to the Savior will be saved—which is, of course, true. However, the problem with that being the way this verse is handled is this: It is intended for Christians.
What might it mean that the Lord is knocking at the heart doors of believers? Consider the context. Jesus is speaking to the church in Laodicea. It is a church that has become smug and self-confident. It is a church that thinks they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and strategize their way to success. They think they are really smart, personally successful, and quite appealing. But God says to them that they have no idea how poor, blind, and naked they really are in his sight. And it is to such people he says that he is knocking on the doors of their hearts, ready to restore and have fellowship with those who open to him.
Getting the context clear offers you and me a challenge if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus. Is your heart open to the fellowship and presence of the Savior? Are you humble? Do you realize that you cannot be strong on your own? Do you see that you cannot impress God with your goodness? Do you see that you have no good in you that the Lord has not granted you? Are you able to recognize that the source of joy that lasts is in the glory of God and not in the multiplying of possessions and comforts?
How about for your church as a whole? Do you see that you, as a body, do not impress God with your strengths? Can you recognize that the Scripture is not telling churches to cleverly strategize their success apart from the power of the Spirit of God working through them? Does your church recognize that we exist for the glory of God and not to be the best club on our block? Can your church see that worship is about declaring truth and humbling ourselves under God’s majesty more than it is about tweaking emotions or impressing the lost? Ultimately, are you and your church submitted to the word of God as your final authority on all things relating to life and godliness?
The Lord knocks on the hearts of Christians because, if we are not careful, we close our hearts to our Savior. We can impress ourselves. We can think we are great in our outreach programs or in our doctrinal superiority. We need to be reaching out. We need doctrinal fidelity. We need rich, Scriptural worship. But we cannot do any of that without being open to the Savior and submitted to his word. We must grasp that we need Jesus to be the church. We need Jesus to live our Christian lives. We are not as strong as we think we are. This is why the Savior knocks and offers the sweetness of his presence and fellowship.
Yes, if you do not know Jesus, the truth of the old evangelist is correct. Jesus says that if you will open your heart to him—trusting him and him alone for your salvation while turning away from all other sources of hope and authority—you will be saved. But the truth of the passage is for believers. We can grow cold and selfish if we are not careful. Our churches can become smug and self-reliant. To us the Savior declares that he knocks and is willing to return to his right position of supremacy in our hearts. And, when we yield to him, he also promises eternal rewards and joy.