The Gate Opens Inward
May 18, 2021
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20, NIV).
He’s my patient and doesn’t have long to live this side of glory. His life had been very difficult—severely so, some his own doing. I was visiting in his home when he told me, “For 36 years I have been raging in my red-barred cage, pushing with all my being against the gate that would not move, trying to get to God on the outside. Finally, I listened, and God spoke to me, ‘The gate opens inward.’” He heard God’s voice, pulled the gate inward and God came in.
God offers to come to us, and change us, and live with us forever, but He allows us the personal dignity to pull open the gate and let Him in or not. That dignity comes to us as human beings because He has created us in His image. He could have made us to love him automatically, like the Golden Doodle that crawls up on the couch whenever I sit down, expecting to be petted continuously. Instead, God created us in His image:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6, ESV).
Wow. Do we realize whom we have been created to be—“a little lower than the heavenly beings…dominion over the works of your hands”? How far we have fallen from that high place because of our sin, but even so have not snuffed out the image of God, an image that has formed within us the blessings and responsibilities of creativity, love and choice.
And so, God will not open the gate and demand entrance into our lives. He knocks and asks us to decide. He does so when giving us the choice whether or not to follow Him eternally, and He does so as well with decision after decision on this side of glory. We know from our own lives, and from the much-publicized, occasional failings in the lives of Christian leaders, that we sometimes choose to shut Him out in the decisions we make, even though we love Him. Thank God, the longer we know Him and love Him, the more we keep the gate pulled open as we make decisions within our fallen, but redeemed, human flesh. And the more we keep the gate open, the more we are being transformed into His likeness, where we were meant to be all along.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV).
Help me keep the gate open to Your presence as I make my way through the life You have given me.