Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was famous for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn't know what to do, especially when they couldn't comply. The result? A foot-stamping, arms failing out-of-control tantrum.
Most of us have probably learned to control our tantrums, but our inner desires still burn within us. We crave what we want until we get it, or get depressed and mad if we don't. Yet, often what we think we really want is not actually a need at all. What we really are after is peace, security, and a deep-down sense of purpose, joy and meaning in life.
But with our eyes fixed on the next best thing, we miss the fact that what we really need is a deeper, more reliant relationship with Jesus. Everything else is at best temporary and sometimes, quite frankly, not all that good for us.
Jesus and the Laodicean believers
This is why Jesus is so bothered with the Laodicean believers in Revelation 3 verses 14-21. They thought they had gotten all they needed, but, in reality, they had forgotten their real need for Jesus. This was so offensive to God that it was nauseating, and that was the Lord's response to the Laodiceans, they sickened Him.
Could it be that God is bothered with us for the same reason? Could it be that we are so consumed by the clutter of stuff and the clamor of our desires that we barely hear Jesus knocking? Where does it leave God when we are spinning out of control in our self-sufficient world? On the outside.
Toward the end of his comments to the Laodiceans, Jesus says, "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 him, and he with me" (Revelation 3 verse 20). I love the fact that Jesus, though offended by our sense of flagrant independence, still wants us.
He still longs for the intimate fellowship that occurred around the dinner tables of the ancient world. And we can't think we are off the hook just because we think that the knocking on the door metaphor is about non-Christians accepting Christ. Let's not miss the point! Jesus is talking to us in this text - specifically, to those of us who no longer feel the need to sing the old song, "I need Thee, O I need Thee, every hour I need Thee!"
Worldly vs heavenly interests
God calls us to repent and to open the door of our hearts to let Him in. To pursue the riches of fellowship with Him and to covet the things that money can't buy but that he can supply: Purity of character -"gold refined in the fire." The covering of His righteousness -"white clothes." Wisdom to see life from His point of view -"salve" for our eyes (Revelation 3 verse 18).
If our needs today are all about physical treasures and temporal pleasures, we'll assume that we're fine without Jesus. But Jesus tells us that we're not. He knew that if men should lay up their treasures here in this world, their interests also would be here, and these worldly interests would shut the love of God out of the heart. If we keep our eye fixed too intently upon things of the world, how can we see those that are heavenly?
This is why God knocks and invites us to open the door of our hearts to Him and to know that what we really need is deeper fellowship with Him. When we know that we can count on it, God will be sure that we have what our hearts truly long for.
First published July 26, 2013
Mercy Cornish (21) lives in Christchurch and studies at Canterbury University. Mercy has completed a Bachelor of Arts degree studying Media and Communications and Political Science. This year Mercy is undertaking honours in Media and Communications.
Mercy Cornish' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mercy-cornish.html