Jesus: The Seeking Savior
Whether you’ve known Christ for years or have only just met Him, one thing is always true: He won’t rest until you’ve let Him fully into your heart
By Charles F. Stanley
One of the most beautiful and popular works by the artist Warner Sallman is his painting entitled Christ at Heart’s Door. In it, Sallman depicts Jesus standing outside a door with His hand raised to knock—an image inspired by 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 will dine with him, and he with Me.”
The significance of that verse lies within its context of God’s message to the first-century church in Laodicea. The Lord was calling back to Himself a people who had grown so distant that He was no longer a part of their common life. They’d become so full with wealth and material possessions that they no longer saw their need for anything—not even Jesus. Although that original congregation is long gone, Christ’s words are still relevant for many churches today. And what is true of churches is also true of individuals.
Drifting from the Lord won’t result in the loss of salvation, but it does push Jesus out of His rightful place as the Lord of our lives. It’s as if He’s standing outside longing to come back and fellowship with us in intimate communion. As we evaluate the quality of our relationship with Him, it’s helpful to reflect on each aspect of the image presented in Revelation 3:14-22 and what it says about Jesus and His place in our lives.
Jesus is always the one who takes the initiative in establishing a relationship with us. In fact, Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who seeks for God.” Before you were saved, Jesus stood outside the door of your heart and knocked. When you received Him as your personal Savior, you were simply responding to His voice. It was not a choice you made on your own, because no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44).
Even after a person receives the gift of salvation, Jesus continues to take the initiative. No matter how far we drift fromHim, He always seeks to restore our rela-tionship. Christ wants to do more than just save us. His desire is to come into our hearts and fill us with His Spirit. He has wonderful plans for us, but if our hearts are already full of the world’s treasures and pleasures, He’s left standing outside.
At one time in my life, I lived two blocks from the railroad track. When I first moved there, the noisy trains really bothered me, but in time, I learned to tune them out.
That’s exactly what happens when we continually ignore the wake-up calls God sends into our lives. Instead of dealing with an area of sin that has shut the door to our fellowship with Christ, too often we try to fix the situation or resort to activities that deaden our conscience or numb our minds and emotions. It’s so much easier to lose ourselves in work, entertainment, or other pursuits than to admit sin and turn from it.
Considering that Jesus sacrificed His own life for us, it makes no sense to keep the door closed. Can you imagine doing that to someone you love? What if a dear friend came to your door? How would he feel if you quickly closed the curtains, pretended you weren’t home, and refused to let him in?
Sadly, that’s the way many believers respond to the Lord. They want His salvation but are unwilling to make a further commitment. Instead of being refreshed through a vibrant relationship with Him, they’d rather He didn’t bother them with the responsibilities that are a part of any relationship.
Christ’s purpose for coming into our lives is not to make us miserable, but to transform us so we can experience His joy and find meaning in life. He has created and gifted each of us for a very specific purpose and wants to work in, through, and for us (Eph. 2:10). But the only way we’ll partake of His blessings is by heeding His knock.
We also know from Revelation 3:20 that Jesus is doing more than knocking. He’s calling to whoever is behind the door, “If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” When was the last time you knew with certainty that God was speaking to you personally and specifically about something in your life?
Although His calls can be for our cor-rection, many times His purpose is to guide us into an area of service or a specific task He’s chosen for us. At one point in my ministry, I received a call from a man I’d never met. He was so excited because for the first time in his life, he’d heard God speak to him very clearly and specifically. The Lord had told him to call me and find out if we had a particular need in our ministry. I told him we needed a building that would cost two million dollars. Since he was so sure of God’s leading, this godly man immediately sent us a check for the entire cost. The most important message in this amazing story is not the amount he gave, but the excitement he felt from hearing the Lord speak so clearly and his obedient response to the call.
If we will respond to Jesus’ voice by opening the door, He’ll come into our lives, forgive our sin, and begin the process of transforming us. At the moment we receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our being, and we become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Now, you may not feel holy, but the Lord’s presence is always within you, because the Spirit never leaves. He seals you as a child of God, gives understanding of His Word, and enables you to do His will. When you yield to His leadership, He works to align your character and behavior with your new nature. His divine power provides everything you need for a godly life (2 Pet. 1:3).
Those who hear Christ’s voice and open the door are promised a wonderful experience—fellowship with Him. He describes it in terms of dining together: “I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). What is more enjoyable than sitting down with a good friend to share a meal and engage in intimate conversation? That’s the type of open sharing Jesus wants with us. In fact, He created us to have this kind of close relationship with Him.
How will you respond?
I’ve been a Christian for many years, and I can truthfully say that an intimate relationship with Jesus is the most exciting experience in my life. No human bond can match it. Although I can’t fully explain His love for me, I can feel it—the warmth of His unconditional acceptance and the assurance of His faithfulness. When I meet with Him, I discover who He is, what He desires, and how He works.
Where does Christ stand in your life? Have you pushed Him outside of your heart and given His seat at the table to someone or something else? Or have you never invited Him in? I want you to understand that nothing is more important than resolving these questions. There’s no job, relationship, hobby, and certainly no sin worth keeping the one true and loving God at bay.
Can you hear Him calling?
“I love you more than you can imagine, and I want to come build a relationship with you and transform your life. I will do for you what no one else can—forgive all your sin, provide all your needs, and pour out rich blessings. You’ll never regret the day you opened the door and invited Me in, because I will give you the abundant life for which you’ve always longed. And remember, our relationship will never end, because we’ll have all eternity together.”
Do you know God?
If you've never responded to Jesus' knock on the door of your heart, learn how to begin your friendship with Him here.