Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was notorious for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn’t know what to do, especially when they couldn’t comply. The result? A foot-stomping, arms-flailing, 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 mad and depressed 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 joy, purpose, 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.
This is why Jesus is so bothered with the Laodicean believers in Revelation 3:14-21. They thought they had gotten all they needed, but, in reality, they had forgotten their real need for Jesus. This was so offensive to Christ that it made Him sick.
Could it be that He 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 Him 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 3:20). 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 don’t think you are off the hook just because you think that the knocking on the door metaphor is about non-Christians accepting Christ. Don’t 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!”
So, He 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 3:18).
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. And so He knocks and invites you to open the door of your heart to Him and to know that what you really need is deeper fellowship with Him. When we know that we can count on it, He will be sure that we have what our hearts truly long for.
- Begin your journey today by asking the Lord to reveal the real needs of your heart and give you ears to hear Him knocking.
- What “needs” have you been pursuing lately? How do they measure up to the needs Jesus brings to light in Revelation 3:18?
- Do you have what you need in terms of purity, righteousness, and wisdom? What is lacking, and what steps can you take to depend on Christ to meet those needs?
- Write a prayer responding to the Lord’s statements in Revelation 3:1-22. Invite Him to come in and repent of the self-sufficiency that has blocked the reality of how desperately you need Him.