Dr. F.B. Meyers, one of the great preachers of the 19th century, and one of England’s brightest spiritual lights, described his own conversion as a “controversy over keys.” There are always risks when any believer shares his or her own spiritual experience. For several reasons: first, others may hear us saying, “Don’t you wish you had my experience?” Unfortunately, there are too many Christians who bear witness to their experience, rather than to the Lord of their experience; second, an experiential faith (making your experience the object of your faith) can be dangerous to your own spiritual health. It can keep you from growing in your faith. The “focal point” of our minds should be Jesus, which will prevent us from becoming too self-centered (self-righteous), rather than Christ-centered in our thought life; third, although we should not be reluctant to testify to the difference Christ has made in our own lives, we must never forget, or allow others to forget, that God deals with each of us in a unique and original way. We are not “cookie-cutter” Christians. Furthermore, none of us should ever be found guilty of implying that our own Christian experience should be a “model” for others.
However, there are some things that we all have in common as those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord. For one thing, Jesus has stood at the door of each of our hearts, knocking and waiting for us to open the door, inviting Him to come in. At some point in each of our lives, as disciples of Christ, we had to pray, “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay; make my heart your home.” Some of us cannot remember a time when we did not believe in Jesus. Many believers were born into a Christian family, baptized in infancy as a “child of the covenant,” and years later after training around the age of twelve were confirmed in the faith (i.e. the faith in which they were baptized), and received as a communicant member of Christ’s Church on “profession of faith.” A large number of other Christians had what is called a “born-again” experience (i.e. “born from above”). Jesus said, “You must be born anew” (John 3:3-10). He did not say, “You must be born alike.”
In explaining His words to a leader among the Pharisees (the most devout of Jews), Nicodemus, Jesus explained that this is a spiritual “re-birth”: “…so it is with every one who is born of the spirit” (vs. 8). In the prologue to his gospel, the Apostle John explains that there are two births, a physical birth (i.e. a natural birth), and a spiritual birth (supernatural birth). We are not “children of God” by right of our natural birth, although all human beings are creatures of God (i.e. created in the image of God, spiritual beings, with the capacity to know God, and to“…become children of God” – “To all who receive him (i.e. Jesus Christ), who believe in his name, he gives power to become children of God, who are born not of blood. or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
So, everyone has a choice, and all of us are responsible for the choice we make when it comes to Jesus (i.e. our personal response to HIs claims, as well as His demands). We either choose to believe and receive Him, or we choose to reject Him. There is no other choice, no third alternative. We cannot remain neutral. Furthermore, none of us can ignore Him! Once have been faced with His claims, we either choose to accept those claims, or to not accept them. Jesus Himself said, “If you are not for me, you are against me.” There is no “middle-ground.” Jesus tells us there are only two ways (i.e. two roads, or two directions) we can go, either the “BROAD WAY” (it is a wide road because so many choose that way; it is easier, less demanding), or the “NARROW WAY” (there are no “traffic jams” on this road, for there are more restrictions and no detours). So, Jesus says, “Listen, I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door I will come in to you” (Revelation 3:20).
This brings us right back to the unique expression Dr. F.B. Meyers used in referring to his own Christian experience as a “controversy over keys.” We do not know if it was a dream or a vision, or if this was simply a poetic way of explaining the decision and choice he had to make in opening himself to Jesus Christ, inviting Him to come into his heart and take control as the Lord of his life. Regardless, he said Jesus came to him one day with an outstretched hand, asking for the “keys of life” (i.e. the keys to the house of his life). He tells how he fumbled around in his pocket for awhile, then finally but reluctantly produced the keys. However, he kept one key back, for there was one room in his life that he did not want under the control of Christ (“under new management”). He does not tell us which room it was. Perhaps it was the “library” of his mind, and he did not want Jesus to see some of the books or literature he had been reading, and did not want Jesus in control of his thought life. Maybe it was the “dining room”, and he did not want Jesus to be in control of his appetites, or it might have been the “bedroom,” because he did not want Him to be Lord there! He did not want Christ to control the desires of his flesh. It could have been any of the rooms, for the message is that Jesus does not want to be excluded from any area of our lives. He wants to be Lord of all, or not at all! He wants us to hand Him every key to every room in the house of our life!
For Dr. Meyers, that was the conflict, that was the controversy, that was the critical choice. He says he kept that one key in his pocket for some time, and his refusal to make an unconditional commitment to Christ, his fear of absolute surrender, his reluctance to live his life under the total management of Jesus Christ, to bow the knee to him as the LORD of his life forever, crippled his life (spiritually), dimmed his light (as a witness for Christ), until finally one day he came back to Christ on his knees, and handed Him the last key, and the fullness of Christ’s presence and power transformed his life, so he could become the person God created him to be, the person He had in mind when He first thought of him.
How is it with you? If you have believed and received Jesus as your Savior, I ask if you have also surrendered to Him as Lord? Have you surrendered all? Have you prayed, “Take my life, Lord. I open the door to you, and I hand you the key to every room the house of my life. I relinquish control. I ask You to dethrone self, and take Your rightful place on the throne in my heart?” If you have not, I ask you to offer that prayer now, for that may be the reason you have not found the joy that so many other Christian have in their lives. Perhaps it is the fear of absolute surrender to Christ that can explain the lack of power in your life, the power to say no to temptation, the power to overcome the downward and backward pulls of life. This could be the reason you have not been a more contagious Christian, why there is such inconsistency in your life as a follower of Jesus, why you are a reluctant witness who seldom speaks a good word for Jesus when you are among non-believers, why you do not even object (lovingly) when someone takes the name of Jesus Christ in vain in your presence, why you are so often silent when you should speak up, why you are inactive when you should be serving, why you are not a more faithful steward of your time, your talents, and your financial resources. Think about it!
Lord, You know the needs of every person reading this blog. You have sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, and to take out of our lives anything that is preventing us from surrendering to You as Lord. So, I pray, come Holy Spirit, convict and consecrate all believers who are reading this blog, until they surrender themselves totally and unconditionally and become wholly Christ’s. Also, hear my prayer for any non-believers who may have just read this post. I ask You, O Holy Spirit, to speak to them. Come to them as a fire, and burn. Come as a light, and convince. Come as a wind, and cleanse. Come as the power of God, bringing them to their knees, so they too will pray: “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Be Lord in my life.” Then, flood their souls O God, with the fullness of Christ’s JOY, and the PEACE that surpasses all human understanding. In the strong and powerful name of Jesus I pray, in faith and hope, and with great thanksgiving. AMEN.