This devotional is Day 22 of the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or bookmaking the home page above!
Scripture: Revelation 3:20-22
“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 3:20-22 (ESV)
These weeks leading up to Christmas haven’t been what I expected. In fact, they’ve been a little harder than most. And if I’m honest, my heart is struggling to get into the celebration.
My family is dealing with health issues, and we’re getting very few answers or results.
Work is a little crazy with this season of sales and gift-giving driving more traffic than usual into our bookstore.
It’s been a hard year with a lot of the pain and wrestling. I feel a little lost, a little hurt, and a little lonely.
I’m certain I’m not the only one in this spot either. Christmas has a funny way of bringing pain and joy together as one. We ache over loved ones that we’ve lost, over circumstances we never asked for, and healing that remains just outside our reach.
That’s exactly the heart to which today’s passage speaks. If you’re aching, hurting, lost, or lonely, today I’d like to share three gifts Jesus has for you in today’s passage.
Gift #1: Invitation
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”
I love the imagery of this passage—of Jesus standing and knocking. He doesn’t come knocking as a salesman or as the UPS man to drop a package and run. He is un-rushed. Unhurried.
He is there for relationship.
Often this passage is presented in salvation messages. Jesus stands and knocks at the door of the heart who hasn’t yet accepted him. However, when you look at the larger context of these verses, this image isn’t presented to nonbelievers. It’s given to a church that is described as being neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm (verse 15).
Lukewarm, according to Jesus, is worse than being cold toward him. It’s like sitting on the fence between being against God and being completely sold out to him. It is described as having a heart of self-sufficiency—the belief that we don’t need Jesus in our daily lives (verse 17).
Lukewarm is an easy place to find ourselves when life gets painful. We simply go through the motions because that’s all our wounded hearts can handle. We’re not ready to walk away from God altogether, but we’re also not a fan of what he’s allowed our circumstances to look like.
I’ve been in that space for months now. That flame of faith that once burned brightly has been dimmed to a small, struggling glow.
Yet it is to the lukewarm Jesus offers the invitation.
Rather than leaving the lukewarm heart to its own devices, he comes and invites us into relationship and intimacy.
Gift #2 Intimacy
“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 another great image of how Jesus relates to the lost and lonely. When we choose to invite him in, he doesn’t just come in and plop down on the couch to watch TV. He sits with us at the table.
There is something so intimate about sharing a meal with someone—about being those two feet across from each other with the ability to look into each other’s eyes. Barriers come down around a table filled with good food. Conversations have the opportunity to go deep. People linger here.
It’s such a simple picture for Jesus to offer this lukewarm church, but it’s also a beautiful one.
You who are far from me, who think you don’t need me in your daily life, let me in. Let me come be a part of it. Let me sit with you around the table, and let me hear your heart and I’ll share mine.
We will find no better relationship than the one we enter into with Jesus. He is a master at meeting us where we’re at and inviting us into deeper intimacy with him. It doesn’t require much more from us than simply sitting down with him at the table.
Gift #3 Victory
“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.”
Our passage today closes out with a statement of victory.
Once we’ve let Jesus into our hurting hearts and messy situations, and we’ve made the choice to enter into intimacy with him, that is where we find victory.
As I was studying this passage, I found myself asking what exactly Jesus means when he says “to the one who conquers.” What conquering needs to be done?
The Amplified Bible adds a little more understanding here: “He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God], I will grant to him [the privilege] to sit beside Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down beside My Father on His throne.”
The one who overcomes the world does so by believing in Jesus the Son of God.
To overcome the world, to be victorious, means that while we live here we do not live for what the world lives for. We live for Jesus. We live with Jesus and we believe what he says. We believe his promise that he is coming again to set all things right.
That’s the beauty of celebrating advent at this point in history. The first advent has already come. Jesus was born as a baby and grew up to die on a cross and conquer sin and death. He is already victorious and so are we if we believe him.
But we also wait for the second advent when He will return just as he promised and set the world right.
We are victorious because He is victorious.
As we continue to live for him—as we continue to make choices to pursue intimacy with him and let him have lordship over every aspect of our lives, we claim victory through him.
And when all this is said and done—when Jesus returns and ushers in the new heaven and new earth—we will sit victorious with him, not just as individuals, but as one body, his Church.
That is a reason to hope this Christmas.
Even in the midst of feeling distant from the Lord, feeling lonely, or facing a very painful season, Jesus comes near. He comes near and invites us into relationship; he offers intimacy, and makes way for victory.
About the Author
Jazmin N. Frank is a Bible teacher and Christian-living blogger. Her mission is to encourage others love God and love His story by teaching Bible study skills and providing resources that allow you to dig deep into Scripture yourself. Learn more about Jazmin and her blog at jazminnfrank.com.