Come On In, the Door is Open

With the winter chill long gone and the Texas heat not yet fully controlling the thermometer, May is an opportune time for opening doors and windows so warm spring breezes and sunshine cascade into our homes. In doing so our homes seems much fresher and brighter. By opening the doors of our hearts and lives to Jesus, much more than just our homes become fresher and brighter. Jesus longs for us to say “Come on in, the door is open” as He shares in 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.” There are several ways we can conduct ourselves so the doors of our hearts and lives remain open to Jesus. One is by daily spending quiet time with Him. The amount of time may vary, with some days only allowing a few hurried minutes, while on others there is much more time to linger in His sweet presence. Our quiet time activities can be a compilation and rotation of a variety of activities including listening to worship music, praying, sitting silently and waiting to hear His voice, and reading and mediating on His Word. The important thing is that we consistently set aside time and intentionally put everything else out of our minds while singularly focusing on Him. And as we invite Him in, Psalm 145:18 assures us “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Another way to keep the door to our hearts and lives open to Him is pausing and focusing on Him throughout the day even if only in intervals of one to two minutes. One way of accomplishing this is selecting a scripture and pausing to review it throughout the day. The scripture may be one already memorized or is recorded in a small notebook or in your phone. Revisiting the scripture throughout the day helps plant it firmly in your heart versus it being like the seed planted in shallow or thorn ridden soil described by Jesus in the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20). Another activity is pausing and lifting up brief prayers in the midst of both the mundane and busiest of days. These can be prayers for challenging circumstances either you, your family, community or others in the world are facing; asking for guidance for accomplishing daily tasks; or expressions of gratitude for both large and small blessings. An alternative activity is offering praise for who the LORD is. This could be started by daily selecting an attribute from the eight listed in Psalm 18:1-2 “I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” and reflecting on it throughout that day. Branching out from there are many more attributes of the LORD throughout His word and which are especially evident in the book of Psalms. Taking a couple of minutes each morning, afternoon, evening and night to cast our gaze on Him can help us fill our days with the fruits of the Spirit. And any day filled with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control (Galatians 5:22-23) is indeed a good day. Opening the door includes seeking opportunities to fellowship and be in connection with other believers. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this such as attending and volunteering at a local church, being in a Bible study or other Christian small group, and/or regularly meeting up with a friend to pray and read His Word together. In doing so, we are obedient to the instructions in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” While certainly the greatest benefit of fellowship with other believers is growing into a continually deeper relationship with the LORD, there are many other benefits as well. Some examples are the development of a rich and supportive network of friends and receiving valuable teaching about the Word and how to live a more Christ like life. Simon’s mother-in-law received a wonderful benefit because she was in a household that had opened the door to Jesus (Luke 4:38-39). When Jesus entered Simon’s house and saw her lying in bed with a high fever, He instantly healed her. A place we may forget to open the door to Jesus is in the midst of troubling situations. Often when confronted with a distressing circumstance, an initial response is take action based only on our limited human abilities and mindsets. If we choose instead to pause and open the door to let Jesus into the circumstance, we may much more quickly receive His peace, guidance and resolution. Psalm 46:1 tells us “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” We may also shutter the door to Jesus’s intervention when troubling circumstances linger despite our prayers. We grow weary and discouraged and become tempted to stop praying about the trying situation. To counter this temptation it is helpful to reflect on the multiple references within the Word about persistently seeking Him for resolution such as: “So our eyes look to the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us (Psalm 123.2); “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered” (James 5:11), the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), and the friend seeking provision for an unexpected visitor (Luke 11:5-8). Unfortunately for those who enjoy opening up their home’s doors and windows to bring in the fresh spring air and sunshine, this season is short-lived with the arrival of the unrelenting and brutal heat of summer. The good news is regardless of the season or our circumstances, Jesus remains perennially ready to enter at any time we invite Him to “Come on in, the door is open.”