One of the other rules for the probationer is never to go near their supervising officer’s residence. Most of them have no idea where their officers live anyway, and the office is not allowed to pass out that information, but when you live in a tiny rural county where practically everyone is related to or otherwise knows everyone else, they don’t even need a phonebook to find their officer. Twice I have had one of those people knock on the door, once when Keith had already left for work. That is why I always lock my doors when I come inside, and why, since we had a fence put up, we lock the gate 24/7.
It’s a habit now. I come in the door and shut it with a twist of the wrist and it’s locked. I don’t even know I’ve done it. In fact, one time I walked outside to do something and locked myself out without realizing it.
On the weekends, I regularly lock Keith out too. He will be chopping wood or mowing the yard and I come back in from taking him a jug of water and—flip—it’s locked. I don’t know until I hear him knocking at the door. He never gets angry; he always says, “Good job,” and goes about his business. Now if I didn’t respond to his knock that might be a different story.
Acts 6:7 tells us that many of the priests were “obedient to the faith.” That word “obedient” is the same Greek word used in Acts 12:13. Peter had been miraculously released from prison and went to Mary’s house, where the church had met to pray. He knocked at the door and Rhoda came to “answer”—that’s the word “obedient.” Just as a knock on the door requires a response, the gospel knocking on our hearts requires one too.
First, let me praise poor little Rhoda. This was a time of danger for the church. Two had been arrested and one of those already killed. The use of the word “maid[en]” or “damsel” tells me she was unmarried and therefore quite young. Yet she is the one who was sent to answer the door. What if it had been Herod’s soldiers? Then she finds Peter standing there and is so excited she forgets to let him in. It takes others coming to respond to the continued knocking for Peter to actually get into the house.
A lot of charlatans who claim to be preachers of the faith will tell you that all you have to do is look out the door and recognize the Lord and you will be saved. Faith is merely mental assent, with perhaps a lot of excitement thrown in, too much to actually get the door opened, to prove its sincerity, but this word requires some action. Those priests in Acts 6 were “obedient” to the faith. They responded completely and fully to whatever was asked of them. “Mental assent” is not an appropriate response to the gospel, any more than me looking out the diamond-shaped pane of glass at my locked-out husband and waving, “Hi!”
How many professional athletes have you seen wearing crosses and “thanking their Lord” before going out to live exactly the way they want to instead of the way He wants them to? Too many. But what about those of us who do not live with such public scrutiny? How many times do we tell the Lord, even after having “obeyed the gospel” as if it were a one-and-done deal, I’m happy to serve as long as it doesn’t cost too much money or take too much of my precious time, as long as everyone does things my way (which is the only smart way), or calls me every day to check on me and take care of my every whim?
The Lord is knocking on the door and He wants far more than your words. He wants all of you, your heart and your life, your total submission to His way of doing things. Don’t just nod at Him through the peephole. Either answer the door and let Him in, or allow Him to go on to someone who really wants Him there.
As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 3:19-21