John 1:12 “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name“
“As many as received Him,..”
What are some ways we “receive” Jesus? In Revelation 3:20, it says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me”.
When a stranger knocks on the door of our home, we do not let them in. But if someone we know and love knocks, we gladly receive them in. We can do that with the Lord. Not only outwardly, in our homes of what we watch and how we talk to one another, for example, but in the home of our hearts. Every time we obey and repent of sin. Every time we choose to do His will, EVEN if it means not doing a “good” thing instead. EVERY time we hear His voice, we can have a “dinner” date with God. Oh that the Lord would have an OPEN DOOR policy into every detail of our lives 24/7. How wonderful!
Of course, He knows every detail of our lives already, but is He welcomed with joy and reverence or a spirit of shrinking back? He is either welcome in our lives or He is not. He is either being received in our lives or not. Some of us are still treating God like an unwelcome guest. If Jesus is not welcome into our hearts after work and on weekends He has given us, or in the area of how we spend our money, then He is like a stranger to us. He knocks at the door of our hearts but not invited in.
What are some ways we can tell the Lord that He is welcome in our hearts?
It says in these verses: 2 Cor.6:16, 1 Cor.3:16, 1 Cor.6:19, that the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus to be His very own! He not only has bought us to be His very own but He wants to dwell by the Holy Spirit inside of us. It's those who welcome Jesus into EVERY area of their heart and life that truly receive Him. There’s no fight. No resistance in letting Him into the darkest places inside of us. He doesn’t force and barge His way in. He wants to enter by love and can only be received or welcomed by love for Him. If we love Him, we will obey His word. And when we do that, we welcome Him into the home of our hearts. In John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” Abode means “home”. Some of us have wished we could sit down with God physically and just talk to Him. But here is an even more intimate way; to commune with Him by obeying His voice.
Once we welcome Him, God wants to be TOTALLY at rest in our hearts. He can only be at rest in my heart, IF it is a pleasing place for Him to be (Ps.5:4). It's one thing to be at a gathering of Christians and receive Him in the words of a song, a sermon or in fellowship. But what about when we RECEIVE a word of correction? Do we get defensive? Or like the wise person, do we have a response of love (prov.9:8)? How about when we are sitting in front of our computer alone? Is Jesus being RECEIVED with purity, with those keystrokes of my heart? Is Jesus being RECEIVED in strong disagreements with our spouse or a co-worker? Or is Jesus welcomed 100%...when disciplining the kids? Is Jesus being RECEIVED to help us treat our spouses and kids with kindness and gentleness? Even to speak a firm, gentle word? Maybe the door remains shut to Him in those times? Ask God to help, in faith, and gladly welcome Him in to help your heart first, before trying to “fix” others!
“..to them He gave the right to become children of God,...” (Jn 1:12)
It’s a right God gives to someone to be His child. He gave the right NOT because we deserve it but as Eph. 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” It’s the result of the great love and mercy with which He loves us (Eph.2:4).
It’s interesting, this verse in John 1:12 doesn’t say that He gave the right to become sons and daughters of God, but children of God (children imply young, dependent ones, as opposed to sons and daughters who may be older and independent). God was reminding me that, this right, is given to those who are not childish BUT childlike (1 Cor.13:11). Like children when they depend upon their parents. They don't worry about the bills, where the food comes from or even their clothes. They know when they have a need, All they need to do is ask daddy or mommy. They can't eat and they can't have covering without the help of their parents or they will die. So we too, must DEPEND on the Holy Spirit ALWAYS or we will spiritually die - that is the WORST type of death. Because it is a life ESSENTIALLY without God. Being a child of God does not just mean a one time experience. It results in a life we live constantly throughout everyday. When we seek to NEVER put Him on hold by doing our own will, we are BEING His children. We may be adult sons and daughters, BUT we must have a childlike DEPENDENCE upon God if He is ALWAYS welcome in the home of our hearts. Jesus said unless we become like a child, (dependent and humble) we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt.18:3).
“…,even to those who believe in His name” (Jn 1:12)
This verse also implies that those who are receiving Jesus, believe IN HIS name. And His name is Jesus, which means, “He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Disciplining myself can only get me so far. Jesus has to save me from the sins of evil lusts and entitlement. The more He is welcomed and received into the home of my heart, the more I’ll be saved from sin. Things like pride, self-centeredness, unrighteous anger will be decreasing in my life.
But He is NOT just to be received or welcomed by avoiding sin. It's a reception, of Lord, I want to live more in Your presence (Ps.16:11). It’s an increasing longing to LIVE more in the light in fellowship with Him. And the overflow of that spirit will cause a joy to spring up in our hearts. As Jesus took walks and slipped away often to pray, we’ll find ourselves doing the same. Wherever we go, we won’t want to “kick” Him out.
Receiving Jesus also involves taking up our cross daily. The flesh inside of us, doesn’t want Jesus to come in and dine with us. It hates Jesus (Rom.8:7-8). The sooner I realize I have something INSIDE of me that hates Jesus, the sooner I’ll take ALL sin more seriously.
But we don't have to be discouraged! There is great hope for the children of God, if, we are RECEIVING Jesus. If you are a child of God, that also means God is your Father. Jesus is our bridegroom. And the Holy Spirit is our Helper. He helps us become holy so He can have a holy place to dwell in fellowship with us.
As I have recently reflected on this verse, it’s been evident IN my circumstances, Jesus needs to be more welcomed in the home of my heart.
Just this week, so far it seems, I have experienced being frauded hundreds of dollars in my checking account. In addition to that, one of my co-workers, who can be confusing to work with at times, did not communicate clearly what needed to be done to finish a certain project, so I was questioned on it. In both of these scenarios, I was tempted to worry and play the “what if” game. I am so thankful that the Lord has brought this meditation to my heart so He can be received into these situations to help me. Both of these circumstances have not been solved. Yet the Lord is bringing a rest to my heart. And the rest is not because I will get all my money back or my work project will now make our customer happy. Because I don’t know. The rest is that He is with me (Rom.8:35-39). It’s easy, to quickly say and read those 4 words; HE IS WITH ME. But it reminds me, that He loves me, that He is able to hold me together, when everything seems to be falling apart. And that fear and defensiveness don’t have to rule me in situations. So, whatever the lessons are in this classroom of faith, I believe He’ll continue to give me the grace and the wisdom I need, to honor Him. Be it according to my faith!
If you’ve found yourself at unrest, don’t be condemned. Start right now while reading this, pray honestly, Lord I want You to be welcome ALL the time in the sanctuary of my heart.
Nothing between, nothing between, my soul and You Savior.
The verse immediately after Rev.3:20 (where Jesus stands at the door and knocks) speaks of an incredible promise when the Lord is welcomed into our lives. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
But Before we can overcome and be with the Lord someday, He must be welcomed in the home of our hearts.
Rev. 3: 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”