There is a common illustration used to describe the invitation extended by Christ. It's an illustration that many of us have heard and perhaps even used. To my knowledge, it has been depicted numerous times in paintings and drawings. It's the illustration that describes Christ knocking at a door with no doorknob or handle. The illustration makes it very clear that Jesus cannot open the door; the door must be opened for Him.
Now many religious folks will say that the house at which Jesus is knocking in that illustration represents a person's heart and that all a person needs to do is open the door to their heart, let Jesus in, and all will be peachy for the rest of that person's days. However, this view of the illustration doesn't line up well with Biblical teaching. After all, Jesus never told any person in the Sacred Text to let Him into their heart. Rather, on numerous occasions, He told others to follow Him. Such an instruction required trust, a desire to learn, a desire to give up self, and a desire to leave behind worldly and other unimportant things. Such an instruction required action! On one occasion, Jesus commented how the hearts of some were far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Why? Because the people were not really following Him! Truly, it is one thing for a person to welcome Jesus into his or her comfortable worldly life and say, "Come on in, Jesus. Take a load off while I continue to live for myself." It is an entirely different thing for a person to open the door and say, "Jesus, whether the path be long or difficult, I will follow You wherever You go" and then leave the comforts and distractions of the world behind.
While on this earth, Jesus told many to follow Him. Some faithfully obeyed while others were hesitant and made excuses. Some did not follow Jesus because they were unwilling to accept the cost of discipleship. Let's consider some passages from Matthew in which Jesus instructed others to follow Him.
Matthew 4:18-20 - "And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.' They immediately left their nets and followed Him."
Matthew 9:9 - "As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' So he arose and followed Him."
Matthew 10:37-39 - "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
Matthew 19:21 - "Jesus said to him, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'"
Friends, having looked at these passages, I'd like to offer a different take on the age-old illustration of Jesus knocking at the door: Jesus is knocking at a door with no exterior doorknob or handle. The house at which He is knocking represents the world, and by knocking, Jesus is inviting, beckoning, us to come out of the world and follow Him. This means that Jesus will not enter the house, and we must leave it in order to follow Him. Merely "opening the door" to Christ is not enough, as some would affirm. It is a start, but it is not enough. To truly accept the invitation of our Lord, we must follow him, leaving behind the things of this world. "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works'" (Matt. 16:24-27).
Dear friends, how about you? Are you truly following Jesus by your obedient faith and works throughout life's struggles, or have you deceived yourself into believing that opening the door to Jesus is enough?