What will God find as He stands at the door and knocks?
As I was writing Tuesday’s post on revival last week, a very cool thing happened. It was the middle of the night and I thought I heard a knock at the door. I even thought I heard the door open. It was so vivid I got up to see who was there but I wasn’t frightened by it. In my stir, the verse from Revelation 3:14 came to my mind.
“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.”
This is not a verse I think of often, if ever. If anything, a knock is going to remind me of the verse “Ask, seek, knock” because I talk so much about prayer. But this time, it felt very clear. “I stand at the door and knock.”
As I slept, my thoughts kept drifting to praying for our nation and revival. I wasn’t sure of the connection to the verse and feeling like I should pray for revival, but I felt so confident it was from the Lord. It was the sweetest, half-wake sleep I’ve ever experienced of undeniable communion with God.
When I woke up, I told Tyler “this is going to sound crazy…”. Isn’t so funny how we’re so afraid to admit we heard from God? It makes us feel like we’re crazy or making it up? I think the enemy steals many words from the Lord when we brush it off as such. But the key is knowing God’s Word and not putting words in His mouth. This whole experience was a sweet reminder of the importance of knowing your Bible. The more we know God’s Word, the more He can speak to us through it and we can be sure of His voice. (If you want more help on this, we have a whole module in the course specifically on discerning God’s voice here.)
Back to the verse. I was so excited to dive into the passage. As soon as we got the girls off to school, I dug in and was blown away by what I read. This verse is smack dab in the middle of Jesus telling the Laodicean church that they are lukewarm. That graphic verse about God spewing them out of His mouth? That was about the Laodiceans.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 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. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” -Revelation 3:15-22
Laodicea was a rich town and very self-reliant. Their one big problem was their water supply came from miles away. By the time it arrived through the aqueduct, the hot springs weren’t hot or refreshingly cold, just lukewarm. They would certainly understand Jesus’ description of lukewarm water.
In David Guzik’s commentary of the passage, he said “Is there any soul harder to reach than the one who has just enough of Jesus to think they have enough?”
That quote is so powerful. Do we have just enough Jesus to think we’re all good? Do we have just enough church, just enough prayer time, just enough podcast sermons to feel comfortable living our lukewarm Christian life? Do we have just enough resources to convince ourselves that we don’t need God?
Donald Barnhouse said about the verse “So the Lord is saying, ‘If instead of being lukewarm, you were so cold that should feel that coldness, then the very feeling of your need might drive you to the true warmth, but now in your lukewarmness, you have just enough to protect yourselves against a feeling of need.’”
As a nation, is that where we find ourselves currently? We’ve touted America as a Christian nation, but is it the same way we claim our parent’s religion though we’ve never really made choices that reflect it as our own? Are we experiencing the fire and heat of complete surrender to the Lord? Or are we holding on too tightly to the world? David Guzik said “Deep down, there is no one more miserable than the lukewarm Christian is. They have too much of the world to be happy in Jesus, but too much of Jesus to be happy in the world.”
Is this where the American church is at?
On Tuesday, we talked about how true revival comes when we get uncomfortable and honest with the state of our souls and the reality of our life without God. Maybe it’s possible we’re like the Laodicean church and quite comfortable with all our resources and don’t feel we really need God. Not as much as starving nations or countries where Christianity is illegal anyway.
We’ve got all the makings of a Laodicean church. And want to hear something crazy? Many scholars believe the seven churches that Jesus writes letters to in this portion of Revelation represent 7 ages throughout history. The current history we’re supposedly in? The lukewarm Laodicean church! Are we longing for revival right now because we’ve grown lukewarm as believers?
As I look at the section that got this whole thing started (that verse about knocking) I see some incredible parallels to what Jesus is calling the lukewarm church to and what we shared Tuesday about what is necessary for revival.
1. “I counsel you to buy from me” - The Laodiceans thought they were self-sustaining but they weren’t. Jesus is calling them to come to Him for what they need. Realizing our desperation and need for God is the first step.
2. “be zealous and repent” - Zeal is “to desire earnestly, pursue” and repent is not only confessing, but turning from our sins. We need to rend our garments (maybe not physically) but does our sin grieve us? I just wrote about this in my book on prayer coming next year. I’m rarely grieved by sin, but maybe that’s because I’m not acknowledging the depth of it?
3. “I stand at the door and knock” - Jesus is ready to respond. Are we too tuned in to the world to notice?
4. “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door” - Alright, I may have teared up at this because it’s very rare I feel like the Lord speaks so clearly to where I know, without doubt, it’s His voice. It’s not audible, but it’s so clear, I felt humbled to know I heard Him in the middle of the night.
5. “I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” - Intimacy with the Father!! This is the absolute best place we can be no matter what our circumstances. We get to experience intimacy with the Father when we hear and open the door.
And if I can just be honest, I spent nearly EIGHT HOURS on my phone the day before my middle of the night moment. EIGHT HOURS!! I normally spend about 2 (and if I’m honest during this election season, a little more than that but 8???) but I had gotten some difficult news and literally just fell in a puddle on the sofa and drowned my sorrows in my screen. I was smart enough to know it wasn’t the right move, but struggled to actually resist it. So I asked for prayer on Insta and y’all delivered! I had so many messages that y’all were praying for me.
I truly believe y’all interceded on my behalf. I truly believe I needed those prayers to hear the Lord put that verse on my heart that I hope will encourage many. Those eight hours were my equivalent of cold. I was desperate at that point for prayer to help me through the struggle and I’m confident, I never would have asked for that prayer had I not felt like I was hitting rock bottom. It would have been lukewarm and easy to chalk up as just a rough day.
The fire we want to experience, the revival we want to see, starts with acknowledging we are lukewarm. It starts with getting uncomfortably honest and not thinking that we’d rather be medium temp because it’s at least closer to hot than cold.
Revival awaits. Are we ready?
This is part 2 in a two part series on revival. Click here to read the first post about how to start a revival.
Thank you for sharing this, Val! It’s given me a lot to think about. Years ago, I was in a funk. Devastating choices were being made by someone I was close to and I was crushed. After weeks of functioning in a dark fog, I remember the sensation of a hand firmly pushing my head forward and in my head hearing, “Knock it off.” Suddenly things felt brighter and I realized I can’t always control what occurs around me, but I can choose my response to it. I can’t explain what exactly that experience was, but I thank God He used it to bring me closer to Him. The practice of continually surrendering all to Him is not easy, but is such a comfort and a beautiful blessing.