By Joshua Yap
Have you ever been locked outside of your own house? And without any means of getting in because your family member inside was blissfully ignorant of your plight? It’s an annoying experience: being so close yet so far. What if I told you that this is what Jesus faces with many of us in the body of Christ today?
In Revelation 3:20, we see the Lord of the universe knocking on the doors of our hearts, waiting and longing to enter in. At first glance, this sounds like a Scripture written to unbelievers. Yet we find that this verse was Jesus’ message to the church in Laodicea – it’s written to believers! In their lukewarmness, they had locked God out of their lives and kept Him waiting in a place where they could be blissfully ignorant of His presence and desires.
So often we attempt to search for lesser things to fill the gaping emptiness inside of our hearts, but to no avail. Life for many believers is a frantic pursuit to do more and to achieve more, all the while being independent from God. In our daily frenzy, we do not hear the knocking God, who is waiting to “dine with us”. Eating with our loved ones is a way to spend quality time with them, and a time for us to hear their heart while pouring our own hearts out to theirs. This is what God desires; this is what it means to abide in Him.
Why would God desire this? We must understand that we are relational beings, made in the image of a relational God. We were made by God, for God — the core of who we are was designed for relating with Him. This is the only way we will never thirst again (John 4:14), the only way we can bear much fruit (John 15:4-5), and the only way we can possibly live in abandonment unto Him (Phil. 3:8). Through the Bible we don’t merely see a list of “dos and don’ts” or some moral lessons to learn. We see the God Most High interacting with human beings. The wonderful miracles or works are just an outflow of relationship and brought about through this interaction!
Pause for a moment! Do we truly relate to God as a Person, or just as a means to an end?
If a heart exchange is what He desires in Revelation 3:20, we must come to realise prayer is more than just going through a list of requests as if Jesus were our genie in a lamp.
Are we impatient with God? During this season, God is confronting how I am in a hurry to move from that place of waiting upon Him to doing things for Him. My mind is racing to my to-do list instead of treasuring the time that I have to engage Him. My heart is anxious to receive His words so that I can do something with it, instead of wanting to simply hear His heart. Why are we in a hurry if the God of the universe is continually patient with our ignorance, knocking on the door of our hearts? Deep relationship with God is not a waste of time!
How should we respond to “the Knocking God”? It is simple: we open our hearts to Him and to His presence in every part of our day, every day of our lives! This is the season to cultivate the openness of our souls to His presence. We must pursue that He would increase in our lives, and we would decrease (John 3:30).
Do we take time to behold Him? God is bringing us back to the simplicity of entering His presence with thanksgiving (Ps. 100:4), not for anything that we can get out of Him, but just to enjoy the wonder of who He is with gratitude in our hearts! Instead of avoiding them, we should wrestle with the deep questions we have about God and ask Him to redefine our ideas of who Jesus is!
Finally, if dining with us is what He desires, then He wants us to know Him intimately! Would He find ones who stand in His counsel (Jer. 23:18) and not just assume what He actually desires? May we not be a church who keeps God knocking, but know Him in an even deeper way in this season!