John 10:1-3 “Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.”
It was a Friday night and the sun had just set on a beautiful spring day. The breeze was warm, reminiscent of summer nights to come and the couple wandered in from the backyard. As they tidied up from their BBQ, washing dishes and talking about the week, they decided to watch a movie. Heading downstairs with arms full of popcorn and chips, chocolate and pop, they snuggled up on the couch.
A door creaked open – the back door they’d come through only a few hours before. They both sat up straight, ears straining to hear. The sound of feet coming over the threshold had both hearts racing in fearful unison. Someone was in the house. They waited, breath caught in throat, hands clasped together and as quickly as the intruder came, he left. The husband rushed upstairs and locked the door behind their unwelcomed guest and watched through the window as he headed into their garage. The wife dialed 911 and they waited.
Just a few years ago something similar to this actually happened to close friends of ours. As they relaxed in the safety of their home, in a quiet neighborhood nearby, a man waltzed right through their unlocked back door. Suddenly all that felt safe was violated and from that day on, the back door remained locked.
How often do we leave the spiritual back door of our lives open? What area of our soul has been left weak, vulnerable and open to the enemy? Have we let down our guard and forgotten there is an enemy who wants nothing more than steal, kill and destroy our very lives?
Every time we agree with the lies the enemy tells us, we leave the back door open for him to come in. Thoughts like, “I’m not good enough”, “God doesn’t really have good plans for me”, “I can’t stand that person one minute longer”, “I’ll only do it this one time” are all lies and some of the sneaky ways the enemy tries to breech the threshold of our hearts. And each time we agree with these thoughts, rather than speaking truth over ourselves and our situations, we leave the door unlocked.
The difference between the thief and the shepherd is that the shepherd comes in through the gate. He doesn’t sneak through the back door when we’re not paying attention, he knocks at the front door and waits for us to invite Him in. But how often do we let him and his truth in? Sometimes its so much easier and feels better to let those dark thoughts roll around in our heads and before we know it, begin to act on them.
I’ve been there. Have you?
Maybe you’ve let the thief in knowingly. Or maybe he snuck in so stealthily that you didn’t even realized it. Either way its time to go through our house and make sure no one is lurking in the dark corners. Its time to open all the windows, bringing light to unseen places. And it’s time to answer the gentle but persistent knock at the front door and let the shepherd in.
Maybe it’s some big secret sin you’ve been keeping (an affair, or addiction). Maybe it’s simply a negative pattern of thought you’ve been allowing to rule your life for far too long (I need to please people, I need to have more stuff, etc.) It’s time for a spring cleaning of the soul.
Take some time and ask God to show you the weak places in your heart, the places where you might have let the enemy in. And as you clean house, remember to go to the front door and invite in the one who speaks truth, life and has so much more for you than you could ever imagine.
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”