We saw Jesus had some issues with the church of Laodicea …
1> The Laodicean church had compromised its faith
2> The Laodicean church was conceited
3> The Laodicean church was Christless (Revelation 3:20)
They were so focused on themselves and their so-called success that they didn’t notice who was missing from the assembly: Jesus. To spiritually lukewarm believers, it doesn’t matter if Jesus is present or not. They become so caught up with themselves and busy with their agenda that they carry on without Him. And when Jesus does come near, they won’t let Him warm their tepid hearts.
So we see that passion for God and His Kingdom must move from something we occasionally think about to something we embrace heart and soul. Sue Monk Kidd writes: “I’m discovering that a spiritual journey is a lot like a poem., You don’t merely recite a poem or analyze it intellectually. You dance it, sing it, cry it, feel it on your skin and in your bones., You move with it and feel its caress. It falls on you like a teardrop or wraps around you like a smile. It lives in the heart and the body as well as the spirit and the head.”
Churches fall into spiritual passivity the same way they lose their passion: one careless believer at a time. If the church today — yours and mine in particular — is going to be a passionate influence on our needy world, it will only happen as individual Christians like you and me throw off the conceit of this age and pursue whole-heartedly an intimate, passionate relationship with Jesus.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England is the home of a large painting by artist Holman Hunt that is known the world over. This marvellous painting features the front of a neglected cottage. Thistles have grown up the front wall and grass cores the entry walk. Vines, weeds, and rusty hinges in the painting convey a sense that nobody cares about the cottage or its residents. The scene represents a neglected life, a heart where passion has long since cooled.
But standing at the door of this cottage is the kind King, Jesus Christ, holding a lantern from which the painting derives its title, “The Light of the World.” The lantern light casts a warm glow over the front of the run-down home. And with His upraised right hand, Christ is knocking on the door.
It is a painting of stark contrasts. King Jesus, resplendent in royal robes, bathed in the light of His own glory, seeks admittance to this humble home. The most intriguing aspect of the painting is the fact that there is no latch on Jesus’s side of the door. An early viewer of the painting approached the artist to point out the “mistake” of forgetting to put a latch on the door. Holman’s reply reflects the key to Christ’s gaining entrance into our lives: “No, it is not a mistake. The handle is on the inside. Only we can open the door and allow Christ to come in.”
How often have I seen Christians whose lives are represented by the neglected cottage of Holman Hunt’s famous painting. Where the fire of passion once filled the windows with the light of vibrant life, now only the dimness of passivity is evident. Once the pathway was packed firm and the grounds weeded and trimmed for the frequent, welcomed visitor, but now the threshold is rarely crossed. And the door that was always ajar in anticipation of the Master’s fellowship is now shut and locked from the inside against a friend who is now regarded as a stranger.
Jesus said, “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” (Revelations 3:20). The key to unlocking the door to passion in your life, not just for spiritual things but for every facet of life, is throwing open the door to your life to Jesus and inviting Him to enter. It is impossible to be passive in the presence of Passion Personified!
If the vines of passivity are creeping up the walls of your life, if the path to your door is nearly impassable, if Jesus’s knock at your heart’s door has gone unanswered in recent days, I beg you to throw off your passivity. Open yourself once again so that passion rules. Allow the Light of the world to so fill your life that His warmth and brilliance flows out to others in darkness. A.W. Tozer said, “Keep your feet on the ground, but let your heart soar as high as it will. Refuse to be average or to surrender to the chill of your spiritual environment.”
If you have surrendered to passivity by allowing your passion for God and life to become lukewarm, you must heed the call Jesus issued to both the Ephesian and Laodicean churches: “Repent!” (Revelation 2:5; 3:19)
“Isn’t that something for non-Christians to do?” You may ask. Yes, and if you are still investigating the Christian life, you no doubt sense Christ gently knocking at the door of your life. He wants you to change your mind about Him by surrendering to His Lordship. But repentance is also something for Christians to do when the flame of passion inside has dwindled to a flicker or gone out.
Repent. Change your mind. Don’t lock passion or the Passion Giver out of your life any longer. That door handle is on your side, and no one can fling the door wide open but you — just as no one can give you an amazing and abundant life but Jesus. He stands at the door and knocks … and knocks … and knocks.