‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.’ (Rev: 3:20 NIV)
I love spending time with a close friend or family member. Although it is lovely to have family gatherings or times with groups of friends, there is something very special about a one-to-one with someone you are close to. What I really enjoy is sitting in a café with a cup of coffee and slice of cake, having quality time with someone, particularly one of my children, who are now all adults.
During lockdown I have found plenty of things to do and have started new projects, this blog being one of them. At times I have been rather too busy and have found myself getting stressed, finding it hard to focus on one thing at a time and often not completing anything. My quiet times with God have also become another thing to fit in and at times have felt quite dry.
Then God stepped in: A book had been recommended to me, called ‘Encountering the God who heals’ by John Ryeland of the Christian Healing Mission. One chapter of this book begins with the scripture verse quoted at the beginning of this article – Revelation 3:20: ‘ If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.’ This verse says that Jesus has said He will eat with us – we will sit together, eat together, enjoy each other’s company; it will not be frantic and rushed, interrupted or cut short by having to dash off. This time with Him will feed us and sustain us through the day. It is, in essence, essential to experiencing His peace in our hearts and to receive His help and guidance in all our activities.
John Ryeland writes, “it is this sense of eating together that is what we miss out on. It sums up the quality of fellowship and friendship that describes what our relationship with Jesus should be like- it should be like eating with Him. This is what Jesus thinks is normal fellowship……. Fellowship is all about an ongoing relationship with Jesus – as close as Him eating with us.”
The idea of ‘eating with Jesus’ really attracted me, so I put aside my various Bible study guides, set prayers and normal quiet time routines and simply ‘had breakfast with Jesus.’ I would eat my cereal then sit back with a cup of coffee and talk to Jesus. I would ask Him what He would like to say to me. Then I would listen for His answer, which could come in the form of a thought, a sense or impression, a picture, or a scripture. If there was something causing me concern I would tell Him about it and ask what He would like to say to me about it. I would write down the conversations and look back over them. After doing this for a few days I began to find it very real and releasing, finding that I had a greater awareness of His presence with me.
The joy and pleasure of sitting with Jesus is something we need to seek after daily, not only on certain occasions. We need to feed on Him, listen to Him, hear His words of love and encouragement to us. We need physical food regularly, not only when we need extra help or to get us through a difficult day. It is the same with our spiritual food.
We know how it feels to converse with someone who is always clock-watching or not really listening. Maybe we are guilty of this ourselves. Jesus wants us to savour every moment with Him, digesting every word He speaks. He wants us to commune with Him as a friend, sometimes speaking but also listening. He does not want us to rush in with a list of requests, but to simply be with Him, sharing our hearts and letting Him share His.
I have found that this gives me freedom from the ‘have-tos’ – I have to pray those set prayers, do that devotional, read those prescribed Bible passages, etc. Although Bible study aids and prepared materials are useful and the Holy Spirit can speak through them, I am discovering that just ‘eating with Jesus’ has brought a fresh life to my quiet times. I can really tune in to Him and what He has to say to me and the start of the day and I then sense His presence with me throughout the remainder of the day.
Let me encourage you to spend quality time with Him.
Eat breakfast with Jesus.
John Ryeland has produced some beautiful meditations which draw us into the presence of Jesus.