“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” (Revelation 3:20).
I still remember the day when we bought our first house. We were so excited about owning a property and having a place that we could call our own. We went to the attorney’s office and signed the documents that registered the home to our names. We were ecstatic and we could not wait to move in, unpack and start living in our new home. The day finally arrived that we received the keys to the house. We were all set to move in and ready to organize every part of our new home. We as new homeowners, expected as anyone would, that we received full access to every part of the property. What would have happened if we received a set of keys that only unlocked certain parts of the house? We would not have been content with living in a small part of the property. We would immediately start with a process that clears up the uneasiness and restores the access that was promised to us by the sale agreement.
It reminds me of our walk with the Holy Spirit. If you have accepted the Lord Jesus as your Saviour the Holy Spirit would gained access to your heart (Romans 8:11-17). However, it does not ensure Him full access to and control over your heart. As a new believer, we still have a strong sense of entitlement of what belongs to us and what our own needs are. We have not yet given full control to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can only work and guide us in the areas (rooms of our heart) that we allow Him to. During these first stages of the Christian life, we do not yet experience the fullness of His abiding and guiding presence in our lives.
What is the reason for that?
It could be because of ignorance. Many people do not know that there is more to the Christian life than going to church and reading their Bible’s. I never knew that a deeper life of intimacy with God existed before I read stories of men who testified of such lives. Many of these men tell of how they came to a place of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They experienced a deeper encounter with Jesus that followed their conversion. Andrew Murray calls it the Abiding Life. Hudson Taylor calls it the Exchanged Life. Ian Thomas calls it an Adventurous Life. D.L. Moody called it The Dynamic Life. These stories created a desire in me to experience more of God. I became a student of the Deeper Life. I soon realized that God intended for all of His children to have such an extraordinary life with Him, but only a few unlock the door to the mysteries of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It could also be because you know that there are things in those rooms of your heart that you are ashamed of or that there are things in your life that you are not willing to get rid-of, confess and surrender to Him.
F.B. Meyer struggled to surrender
We have an appropriate illustration from The Life of C.T. Studd by Norman Grubb. At Leicester the Studds once met F.B.Meyer, who wrote later: The visit of Stanley Smith and CT Studd to Melbourne Hall will always mark an epoch in my own life. Never shall I forget a scene at 7.00 am in the grey midst of a November morning, as daylight was flickering into the bedroom, paling the guttering candles, which from a very early hour had been lightning up the page of Scripture, and revealing the figures of the devoted Bible students, who wore the old cricket or boating blazer or earlier days, to render them less sensible to the raw damp climate. The talk we had then was one of the most formative influences of my life.
‘You have been up early,’ I said to Charlie Studd.
‘Yes,’ said he, ‘I got up at four o’clock this morning. Christ always knows when I have had enough sleep, and He wakes me to have a good time with Him.’
I asked, ‘What have you been doing this morning?’
And he replied, ‘You know that the Lord says, If ye love Me, keep my commandments. And I was just looking through all the commandments that I could find that the Lord gave and putting a tick against them if I have kept them, because I do love Him.’
‘How can I be more like you?’ asked FB Meyer of CT Studd that November morning.
He replied: “Have you given yourself to Christ to fill?”
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I have done so in a general way, but I don’t know that I have done it particularly.’
Studd answered, ‘You must do it particularly also.’
Meyer went on to say that he knelt down and offered Christ the iron ring of his will, with all the keys of his life except one little key. But the Master said, ‘If you don’t trust me in all, you don’t trust me at all.’ ‘I tried to make terms,’ said Meyer, ‘and He seemed to be receding from me. I cried out, ‘I am not willing, but I am willing to be made willing?’ It seemed as though He came near and took the key out of my hand and went straight for the locked door. I knew what He would find there, and He knew too. Within a week from that time He had cleared it right out.’ ‘Full consecration,’ added Meyer, ‘is a necessary condition of any deep experience of His keep power.’
The Promised Land
God desires that every Christian should experience the life of victory and fullness of God. One of the clearest pictures of this life can be in the journey of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land. Paul says in Romans 15:4 that the journey is recorded to give us hope; “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of Scriptures might have hope”. Secondly, “that these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of these ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). God intended to bring His people out of Egypt, through the wilderness and into the Promised Land (Deut. 6:23). Israel experienced how God saved them from the Egyptian reign as Pharaoh released them as slaves and how He guided them through the Red Sea. However, the main purpose of their salvation was not to leave Egypt but to cross over the Jordan and enter into the Promised Land. Sadly, along the way, they lost sight of their end destination and got stuck in the wilderness due to disobedience and unbelief (Hebrews 3-4, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13). God intended the Israelites to have a victorious and swift journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Instead, the Israelites were unbelieving and a forty-day journey through the wilderness became a forty-year journey and many of them never entered into the Promised Land. The Christian life can be divided into two stages – the Red Sea experience (salvation) that leads to the wilderness (defeat, struggle), and the Jordan Experience, which leads to the promised land (fullness, victory, rest).
The people of Israel crossed over the Jordan and looked back at that day that they left the wilderness behind. They remembered the moment they put their feet in the water, keeping their eyes upon the ark and entered the Promised Land. When you surrender the keys of your heart and He enters your heart, you will know it. It was in April 1988 that I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior and the Holy Spirit entered my life. It was several years later on the 1st of January that I came to the place of total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and received His fullness. He cleaned my heart, forgave my sin, gave me victory over sin and spiritual power in my ministry. Since then I have experienced many moments where He has re-examined and transformed new areas in my heart. And He continues to do so with His purifying work.
There comes a day in each Christian’s life where God extends an invitation to us to go deeper in our relationship with Him. It could be through the reading of a book, a crisis, a tragedy, a friend or a message that creates a stirring in your heart and drives you to seek God more earnestly. If you accept His invitation, He can unlock the doors in all the rooms of your heart, and one by one, examine, clean and rearrange things according to His purposes. Everything that is not pleasing to Him is removed. Only what He approves is left behind.
The Spirit-filled life is God’s ideal for every believer. He wants to fill you with Himself, and the moment you surrender your heart to Him, He will accept and start His transforming work in you. God is All in All and He will always guide you to the place where you fully surrender to His will. God will work mightily in your life when you give Him access to do so. If you do not experience the wonder of His fullness, power over sin or victory in service, it is because you have not surrendered the keys of your heart and life.