Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Where Are You On The Zealous Scale?

Dear Friend,

Burger Wrapper – Rev 3:20
Beverage Cups – John 3:16
Milkshake Cups – Proverbs 3:5
Double-Double Wrapper – Nahum 1:7
Water Cups – John 14:6
French Fry Tray – Proverbs 24:16

Rhianna and I had just polished off a gourmet meal catered by In-N-Out. (Yes mom, I know their hamburgers have enough fat and cholesterol to drop a horse, but we really only go there a few times a year.) And so now I’m picking through the wrappings trying to spot the Bible verses. Did you know that In-N-Out was established by a Christian family and even today, every paper container has a Bible reference printed on it in tiny letters and numbers? There it was on the hamburger wrapper: 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.”

Do we really know what is being said here? Well-meaning evangelists and pastors (including this one) have slyly lifted this verse out of context as we use it to encourage non-believers to open the door to Jesus and invite Him into their lives. But while this verse may apply to non-believers, the truth is that Jesus was not talking to them. Go get your Bible and read Revelation 3:14-22 for yourself. Go ahead. I’ll wait right here for you...

Jesus said there’s a closed door between you and Me and I’m waiting for you to invite Me in. And, our Lord is addressing this invitation to believers. To good church-going, believers. Folks like you and me. Christians who were once on fire for the Lord. Believers whose passion for God burned hotly in their spirit. The scriptures came alive for them and they were excited when God’s Word spoke to a specific circumstance or a situation they were struggling with. And then the fire cooled and the passion faded. Their Bible was no longer on the table by their chair, but lived in the back seat of the car where it could be easily found on a Sunday morning in the rush to church. And to apathetic Christians who have become comfortable in their complacency, the words of Jesus are graphic and direct. “..because you are lukewarm..I’m going to vomit you out of My mouth.” Rev 3:16.

Where are you on the “Zealous Scale”? Filled with a burning passion for the Lord with a constant desire to be in His presence? Or hearing the knock of Jesus trying to wake you out of a spiritual slumber before He spits you out? If you don’t like where you’re at, remember that Jesus is not the one who closes doors. And yes, Jesus can kick them open faster than a SWAT team on steroids, but that’s not how the Son of God works. He patiently waits. And he knocks every so often to remind you that He’s still there and waiting for you to reach out and turn the knob.

God allows us to keep the door to our own heart closed with the deadbolt snapped in place if that’s our choice. He will pursue us quietly and relentlessly all the while extending mercies and graces that we don’t deserve. In fact, many times we are not even aware of the favors He has granted us. That’s the mystery of God. Yet the mystery of us is the most puzzling of all. How are we able to remain so complacent in the face of God’s overwhelming love and His goodness to us?

Before Jesus reminds lukewarm church-goers that He’s waiting to be invited back into their lives, He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Rev 3:19. You know where you are on the “Zealous Scale.” Now, where do you need to be? Are you hearing a faint knocking sound? Reach out for that knob. Repent. Be Zealous. Are you not sure how to get there from here? Give me a call. We’ll go out for a burger and talk about it.  Amen?