Revelation 3; Nehemiah 4; Psalm 98
As the movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is winding to a climax, Harry and his friends follow a vision Harry had, looking for Sirius Black, the man Harry thought of as a father. According to the vision, Sirius was being held in the Ministry of Magic. In order to reach the location Harry had seen, they needed to travel through the Room of Doors. There were twelve doors in this circular room and once you entered this room, you took your chances because each door looked exactly the same. And, lest you try to cheat by remembering which door led where, the room spun around each time you entered. You hoped that you picked the right door the first time when you had to pass through this room.
When we have to choose a door, it can be confusing whether that be one of the 12 doors in the Room of Doors or door number 2 or number 3 in “Let’s Make a Deal.” When we talk about choosing doors in life, we’re usually talking about deciding where we’ll go in life. When Christians talk about doors as being open or shut, we’re thinking of how God is leading us. We’ll often remind ourselves that when one door is shut, another door opens up. Jesus speaks to the church at Philadelphia an makes an amazing pronouncement: “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:8)
It is an amazing statement because Jesus is pretty much telling the people of the church in Philadelphia, whatever you want to do, do it. The door is open for you. It’s amazing because Jesus makes that statement understanding that He is telling those people, “I have faith in you. I know that whatever you do, you’re going to be doing things in my will.” What amazing faith Jesus had in that church! What amazing love and obedience to God the people in that church showed. Contrast that to the church in Laodicea. We use the story of Jesus telling them that He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20) to let people know how sweet Jesus is, knocking and waiting to enter our heart. The church at Laodicea, though, was proud, arrogant, and rebellious. Like petulant children, they had gone to their rooms and slammed the door shut, proclaiming that they “were too” following God. And Jesus, like a loving father, was trying to get them to let Him in.
I look at those two examples, and as much as I’d like to claim to be in the Philadelphia camp, I’m probably in the Laodicea camp much more often. I wonder how many times I have to remind God that I’m a mature Christian, and I’m doing things the right way, and He can trust me…and then, when He reminds me of my shortcomings, I show Him who’s boss by running to my room, slamming the door and refusing to come out until He treats me as an equal partner. And then I wait God out, hoping to sneak out of my room when He isn’t looking. But He’s waiting. He still loves me. He treats me with tenderness and compassion. Oh, that instead, I would recognize my place in His plan! Oh, that I would love Him like He loves me. Oh, that I would be in such a close relationship with Him that when I asked His guidance He would say, “Whatever’s in your heart to do, do it. I’ve placed an open door before you because I know your heart and that I can trust you.
Oh God, teach me Your ways. Let me be so close to You that You can trust me with an open door.