Jesus is the Door!
Roy must have thought of us reading this with our children.... : ) Good news!
A Wall Too High to Climb
If you see Jesus—really see Him through the eyes of your heart—you will also come to see the truth about yourself. Jesus was perfect in heart, motive, speech, attitude and life...and you aren’t. Jesus has always done what pleases His Father...and you haven’t. Jesus is pure and perfect and loving in every possible way, 100% of the time... and you aren’t. He’s gracious, kind, generous, wise and holy, strong, courageous and gentle—all at the same time. Wow! There’s just no way that we are really anything like Him at all, are we?? And in His deepest act of Love, He gave Himself over to be tortured on your behalf. At the bottom of all His Wonderfulness and at the bottom of all your terribleness, is one of the most crucial truths of all: Jesus didn’t deserve to die like He did...but you do.
Have you ever truly felt or thought about those things? Have you ever thought about who you really are, on the inside of your heart? Have you ever considered what your sins mean to God and how terrible they really are to Him, and what they’ve done to Him? It’s pretty awful, really.
Maybe it would help to paint a picture in your mind. This will help you see who Jesus is and to draw you to His side and into His loving arms. Our sins are like a high stone wall, too high to climb and too strong to knock down. And that wall separates us from God. Have you ever felt that wall? It’s a wall that sometimes leaves you feeling lonely, empty, fussy or even angry, hurtful, demanding or rebellious. It’s a pretty terrible place to be, because it’s a wall that keeps us apart from a very wonderful God. If you’ve felt that wall—or even if you haven’t—God has always felt that wall. He says: “ It is your evil that has separated you from your God. Your sins cause Him to turn away from you. And then He does not hear you” (Isa. 59:2).
The word “evil” means a selfish attitude of wanting to be independent from God. Because of the evil in our hearts, we do things that disobey God and hurt Him deeply. Those acts of disobedience are called “sins.” So our evil separates us from God, and our sins make it impossible for Him to be near us . He has to turn away. And that’s why we feel the wall.
That wall hasn’t always been there. Do you remember what happened in the Garden of Eden? In the beginning, God enjoyed spending time there with Adam and Eve. But Eve listened to the devil. She thought that if she could eat from the Tree of Knowledge, she wouldn’t have to listen to God anymore. She would have the “knowledge” inside of herself of what was right and wrong. She could figure things out for herself and wouldn’t have to rely on God anymore. So she ate from that terrible Tree. And then Adam ate, too. Then what did they do? They hid from God. Suddenly they were afraid to be with Him. And what did God do? He made them leave the Garden. He put an angel with a fiery sword to guard the way back, so they could never return. They could never again know the sweetness and close friendship with God that they were made for. Their evil separated them from God, and because of their sin He turned away from them.
Your Very Own Wall
And what about you? What about the wall of your own sin that keeps you from God? Paul wrote: “ I was alive before I knew the law. But when the law’s command came to me, then sin began to live and I died” (Rom. 7:9). There comes a time in your life when you first realize that God wants something from you, but you don’t want to obey. You decide to be independent from Him and run your life in your own way. Maybe you don’t realize what a serious choice you are making. Maybe you think one “little” rebellion won’t be so bad. But when you make that choice, evil comes to life in your heart. And because of that evil in your heart, you don’t just do “one little sin.” You sin over and over again. Your evil separates you from God, and your sins have hidden His face from your view. In your heart, “sin begins to live and you died.” That wall is very, very real—for you!
And because that wall is so high and so strong, you will always find yourself separated from the Life of God—unless you can find a Door in the wall. Jesus has some precious, precious news for you, if you are willing to receive it: “ I am the door, and the person who enters through me will be saved.” Jesus Himself is the Door that you need so desperately!And He is the only door you will ever find.
Lots of people will say they are Christians if you ask them. Sometimes though, if you ask them when they became Christians, they will answer, “Oh, I’ve always been a Christian.” Let me tell you: that’s impossible! The truth is, that if a person thinks he’s “always been a Christian,” he never has become one! That’s because every person is born on the “sin side” of the wall, and every person will stay on the sin side of the wall until they go through the Door of Jesus’ Blood and Forgiveness. No one is born on the Jesus side of the wall. You don’t automatically “jump” from the sin side, to the other side of the wall without knowing it or without finding and entering through the Door! And that takes a process—a process of finding the Door and deciding to go through the door.
Even after we’ve come to know Jesus as a friend, our choices to sin will still separate us from Him. When Christians choose to be resentful, or jealous, or feel sorry for themselves, or try to be friends with the world, they can still feel that wall of sin. Their hearts can turn cold to Him and His Words can suddenly lose their sweetness. Their spirits can grow weaker. All the ways they thought they had grown as Christians can start to slip away. They can be like a man who’s starving to death, but still not hungry. They know they need God very much, yet they feel distant from Him. Why? Because of sin.
Sometimes a Christian may feel the wall of separation but may not realize that sin is the problem. He may try to pray more. Or he may try harder to serve God. Or he may try to fill himself with pleasure or entertainment or sports or hobbies, to make himself feel better. But he soon finds out that nothing works! The pain of feeling distant from God does not go away. But God is a loving Father. He will try to show the Christian that he got off on the wrong path, and that the problem is sin.
A Doorway to God
Even when we come to realize that our sin is the source of all our problems, we still may not realize what we need to do about it. We may start trying very hard to not sin again. Well, it would be wonderful to never sin again. But it’s too late for that! What about the sins we’ve already committed? What about the wall that’s already there? Even if we never sinned again (which is impossible without Jesus living within), that wall still won’t come down just because we’re “trying to do better.” What we really need is to find the door of Jesus, which leads to the Father. We need to be at peace with Him. This is the point where we can cause ourselves frustration and turmoil and where we can cause God so much grief. We’ve run into a roadblock, because though we don’t desire to hurt Him anymore with our sin, we just don’t know how to get to Him. We try and try to not sin, but we fail and fail. How do we get across that wall, away from our sinful hearts and our sinful selves? How do we stop hurting God and make things right with Him?
Our greatest need is to find the Door in the wall. Jesus meets that need! He says to the heart searching for that door, “I am the Door. I don’t just show you a door, I AM THE DOOR. I’m the only door to the Father’s Heart and only by passing through Me, can you be cleansed and forgiven of your sin.”
This is God’s Great Gift of Agape Love to a world that has shut itself off from Him by a wall of sin. He gives us a door! He’s the doorway to peace. He’s the doorway to friendship with God. He’s the doorway to Life that’s truly Life. Maybe you’re someone who’s standing with your back to the door. But oh, if you would only turn and search for that door! He said, “If you search for me, you will find me, if you search for me with all of your heart.” It is nearer than you think it is. Once you find the door, you can’t really do anything to get yourself ready to go through the Door. But you have to be willing to turn and search and come! In coming to Him we pass from death to life. Jesus is the Door to Life.
What good would a lovely garden or a beautiful house be if there was no door to get in? And what good would all the promises of God be, if we had no way to pass through the wall of separation and receive them from God’s own hand? Sometimes people who see their sin and want to find God get disappointed. They say, “You talk about the forgiveness of sin and living in victory and a Life of Power and Purpose and Destiny. You talk of the wonderful fellowship we can have with God. But how can a person like me find that fellowship? It seems like I’m trying, but I come up empty. It doesn’t seem real to me.” Well, be aware that if it’s just for YOU that you are looking for salvation, you’re in trouble. There’s a way to be selfish about it and that’s where the disappointment comes from. “I’M not finding what I (me, me, me) want out of God. So I quit.” That’s something you must recognize as selfishness and get over it. Salvation will never be something you deserve, as though it’s your “right.”
Salvation—entering through the Door of Jesus, the Beloved Son—is a Free and undeserved Gift of God’s Grace, because of His kindness and love. Amazingly, because He’s such a good Father, it is His Desire that you would fall deeply in love with His Son. It is His desire to clean you and wash you and restore the sweet friendship that Adam and Eve knew—walking in the beauty of the Garden, one with God and each other. That’s God’s heart for you and don’t let disappointment or lack of feelings stop you from searching for Him with all of your heart. “I will be found by you,” He says. It won’t be because you do good deeds for him or you try to “act nicer” or because you figure out all the “right things to do” to become a Christian. It will be because you finally see the desperate nature of your sinful state and the total inability you will ever have to please Him with anything you do or are. It will be because you’re becoming more and more desperate and hungry like blind Bartimaeus who just had to have His sight. You get closer and closer with your heart and your insides to: “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!!!” You feel the heaviness and ugliness of your sin, more and more and more. Every place you turn you’re having an attitude or yucky words or lack of kindness and love for the people around you. Do you know that it’s GOD who’s letting you feel more and more miserable?? He’s not making you sin, but out of His kindness He’s allowing you to feel the ugliness and prison of sin. You’re trapped and helpless to change yourself. It’s when you reach those kinds of thoughts that you’ll be growing closer to repentance. “His kindness leads you to repentance.” You’ll need to turn to God—asking Him, talking things over, pleading with Him to send Help—to reach down and open your eyes, to cleanse you. It won’t be because of what you’re “doing right” that will make you a Christian. It will be because you’re truly searching for Him with all of your heart. You see the terribleness of how you’ve hurt Him and you’re ready to be finished with your old life of sin. You want a New Life on Jesus’ side of the wall!! He’s calling to you: “I am the door! I am how you get there!” Has God promised you salvation? Victory over sin? Peace of heart? Life? Well, He has also provided a Door that stands wide open for you. The Door is His Son.
Do you have a hard time loving God? Do you have a hard time believing? Is it hard for you to stop sinning? Those things shouldn’t stop you from searching for Him with all of your heart. Those things simply mean that the Door is for you! You can’t fix yourself or your problems. But you can judge them as wicked, hate them, and turn to Jesus, asking His forgiveness. When you do, you enter into peace and fellowship with God.
A Door at Your Fingertips
What kind of Door is Jesus? He’s a door on your level. You don’t have to climb any stairs to reach it. Do you feel like a failure? Do your sins seem horrible? Good! Your sins are wretched, and you have failed miserably. But sometimes we can feel that we’ll come to Jesus when we’ve improved a little, when we aren’t quite so bad. But when we try to live better before we come to Jesus, we’re just putting the Door further out of our reach. It’s a door for sinners who see their sin and come to Jesus in their weakness and need. We have to admit our evil hearts and failed lives, and come to Him in simple faith.
Is there a cost to go in the Door? Is there a price we must pay to get rid of that separation from God we feel when we sin? Yes, but it is not the price of trying harder or doing more. It’s the cost of humbling your pride enough to repent of your sin. What about the times God has brought salvation and refreshing to a person’s life? It has always begun because that person chose to deal with God humbly.
Here’s a beautiful truth: Jesus is right there for you, where you can reach Him, right now, if you only choose to. But this is what the Scripture says about being made right through faith:
“Don’t say to yourself, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’” (That means, who will go up to heaven and get Christ and bring Him down to earth?) “And do not say, ‘Who will go down into the world below?’”(That means, who will go down to get Christ and bring Him up from death?) This is what the Scripture says: “God’s teaching is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” That is the teaching of faith that we tell. If you use your mouth to say, “Jesus is Lord” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from death, then you will be saved. We believe with our hearts and so we are made right with God. And we use our mouths to say we believe and so we are saved. (Rom. 10:6-10)
You don’t have to climb up to get Jesus. You don’t have to climb down to find Him. He’s on your level. He’s closer than you think. Believe Him. Don’t climb—surrender! God has placed the door on your level.
You Have to Bend Down to Enter
You may not have to climb up to find the Door, but you do have to stoop down to get through it. You have to bow your head down in repentance. You have to be meek.
The scriptures talk over and over about a disease called a “stiff neck.” If you’ve ever wakened in the morning with a stiff neck, you know you can’t bend down very easily because it’s just too painful. Spiritually, we can have a stiff neck, too. Do you have stubbornness? Do you have a strong self will? Are you very, very determined to get your way? Then you have a stiff neck! Until our wills are broken and our necks softened, we will think it’s too painful to bow down in repentance and enter in the Door. Pride will keep us from Jesus.
Jesus bowed His head down on the cross for you and me. We will have to bow our heads down low in repentance and in accepting responsibility for our sin. That’s the only way we can receive the power in Jesus’ blood to forgive our sins and give us peace.
God forgives sins, not excuses. Sometimes, when we apologize to others or to God, it’s easy to tell that our necks are still stiff. We’re not really repenting—not if we act like we just made a little mistake and we “didn’t really mean to do it.” Do we try to make ourselves look like we’re good people, most of the time? We only mess up every now and then? If we think of ourselves that way, then we are fooling ourselves! Jesus was beaten, bloodied, and slaughtered for us. That’s what our sin deserves—every one of our sins earned us that kind of death! The punishment of Jesus shows us our true selves.
We have to admit that we aren’t any better than Jesus’ dead body on the cross. When we admit that, that’s when He becomes a door for us.
A Narrow Door
Listen to what Jesus said : “But the gate that opens the way to true life is very small. And the road to true life is very hard. Only a few people find that road” (Mat. 7:14). At first it may look like the road to the cross is so wide that everybody will go in. But that doesn’t happen. The road gets a whole lot narrower the closer you get to repentance! Lots of people stop trying, the closer they get.
Finally, the door gets so narrow that only one at a time can get through. Entering through the door is something you have to do before Jesus by your own choice. No one else can do it for you. You have to humble yourself and enter in, no matter what anybody else does. And the moment you go through, the path is suddenly wide enough again to travel with the others who go through.
You have to repent, without waiting for anyone else to go first. The devil will try to tell you that other people are much worse than you, and that surely you don’t have to repent unless everyone else does. Your own resentment or critical heart or unforgiveness may be the very sin you have to let go of.
Jesus never fails. He is always able to save sinners. If you believe you’re seeking Him, but aren’t finding His forgiveness and freedom and light, there can only be one reason. Somehow you haven’t been willing to be broken and come to Him as a sinner. Will you let your pride or your love of sin keep you on the wrong side of the wall?
“Isn’t There Some Other Way?”
“I tell you the truth. The man who does not enter the sheep fold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber” (Jn. 10:1).
Picture some one who doesn’t want to go through the door in a wall, but wants to climb over it instead. So painfully, so slowly he climbs. His fingers and toes search for every little crack in the wall. Each time he tries to climb up, he falls to the ground eventually and tries again. He is covered with scratches and bruises, but he keeps striving and striving. Finally he is in despair! The whole time, there is a wide open door right on ground level. He could enter in any time he wants to. But either he hasn’t seen it, or he doesn’t like the door. Is that person you?
Are you making that mistake—trying to climb over the wall, even though you are getting nowhere? Are you trying to be saved, or to become holy, by improving yourself? By promising never to do that sin again? By trying to pray more, or read the Bible more, or do something nice for someone? It can’t work. It will never work! Striving never produces peace in our hearts. All our despair and defeat fall away when we bow at Jesus’ beautiful, bloody, nail-pierced feet. His peace and friendship wait for us there. Don’t let pride stand in your way!
If your problem is really that you need to repent of sin, then all your work will get you no closer to God. King David messed up his life very badly at one point. But he did go back to God. And when he did, what did David discover? “ You are not pleased by sacrifices. Otherwise I would give them. You don’t want burnt offerings. The sacrifice God wants is a willing spirit. God, you will not reject a heart that is broken and sorry for its sin” (Psa. 51:16-17). Only a willing spirit and a broken heart will go through the Door God has provided. And Glory to God for the door He’s provided—for the door of Jesus, the Son. (RH)