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 dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)
I found yesterday's devotional interesting, because my experience parallels Isabel Allison's in the confusion we experienced when comparing our conversion to the apostle Paul's. In a children's crusade when I was seven years old, the evangelist encouraged us all to receive Jesus, and he gave us the words to pray in order to do that. Afterwards, he told us that if we had prayed that prayer, Jesus was in our hearts, we were now Christians, and we should go home and tell our parents, which I did. However, I began thinking. I didn't feel any different. I didn't see a blinding light like Saul on the road to Damascus; the grass didn't look any greener; the sky didn't look any bluer; I didn't see any angels or hear any bells, so I mistakenly concluded that nothing had happened, likely because I was born into a minister's house, and already had Jesus in my heart. So I didn't need to pray the prayer, I reasoned. And for 21 years, I lived with that delusion, and forgot all about the incident. However, in the Lord's plan, I did decide at the age of seven that I would become a minister when I grew up.
After a year of being a pastor, my ministry entered a slow-burning crisis phase that came to a head after a year of wrestling with my sense of inadequacy — I knew all the right answers in my head, but my heart wasn't right with God. And one Saturday evening, my doubts dissolved in a prayer of commitment to do the Lord's will, which I assumed to be the first in my life, until my mother reminded me of what I had told her 21 years earlier.
Since then, I have been very careful to help people work through the change that has occurred in their life after they ask Jesus into their heart. I just wish someone had worked through this very logical sequence with me to give me that essential assurance:
- 1. God is faithful to His promises. He cannot lie.
2. He has promised that if we open the door, He will come in.
3. I have opened the door to Jesus.
4. Therefore He has come into my heart.
I then ask them where Jesus is. If they can't envisage Him within them, I ask them what happens when someone comes to the door and they open it and invite the person in. Do they just stand there? Of course not — they come in. So where is Jesus now? In my heart!
If someone had taken me through that sequence, I would have been spared 21 years of misconception.
If you've never asked Jesus into your heart, here's the prayer:
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sin. I open the door of my heart and invite You to come in. Thank You for coming in and making me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.