“Batten down the hatches!” I was happily brushing my molars early one morning when I heard the jingle of the kitchen telephone. Hurriedly spitting out my Crest, I scurried to answer the call.

Helen, my mother-in-law, was on the other end, announcing her arrival the next morning for a surprise inspection (oops, I mean “visit”). I swallowed hard, in stark terror, imagining her appearance on our doorstep sporting her orthopedic wedges and flowered duffle bag. When she arrived, we greeted her with a salute and prayed that she would not look for the dust bunnies behind the fridge or find the hair in the bathroom sinks.

If Jesus came to your house today, would you welcome Him or would you leave Him on the porch? Are you ashamed of your dirty house? Would you hide in the kitchen and pretend nobody’s home? Or are you just too busy to answer the doorbell? He’s knocking! He says so!

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

Most of us don’t welcome Jesus because our lives are in disarray. We have skeletons, secret sins in our closets. My mother-in-law’s dreaded stay caused me to hyperventilate. At our house, “spring cleaning” was postponed to be “summer overhaul.” In September, we shut our closet doors and hoped no one could smell the mildew or Odor Eaters. Old socks and holey underwear happily resided in the corner dresser drawer next to a stripy woolen poncho from Matomoros I had no intention of ever wearing. Indistinguishable kitchen implements crowded silverware drawers. I only cook TV dinners, so I have no earthly idea what to do with the three wire whisks Helen gave to me one Christmas. The oven was a haven for black molten chicken grease, but its aroma gave me hope that one day I might prepare gourmet meals without charring them to a crisp. Such was the state of my House Beautiful. Helen was a stickler for tidiness, and I did not want to disappoint.

In desperation, I placed a call to 1-800-GOT-JUNK and told them to bring a large trailer and a couple of HAZ-MAT suits. Two big burly boys with low-slung jeans appeared at my door an hour later. Dewey and Billy Bob looked around, swallowed hard, and gave us an estimate. Two truckloads later, we discovered we had a two-car garage and a walk-in closet. To call the Barriers “pack rats” was a gross understatement. But underneath the squalor of discarded Golf Digestsand ratty underwear.

The apostle John said cleaning up your life is simple.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 KJV

However, perfunctory prayers are useless. We must have godly sorrow-we must feel the grief and pain Jesus felt as He watched us do what we did. Get your swiffer and dust under the bed. Let the light of God’s holiness prepare you for your Heavenly visitor.

You might be afraid to welcome Jesus into your home because you fear He’ll re-arrange your furniture. My mother-in-law always did. Helen organized my linen closet and removed the adorable neon gnome and pink flamingo I had proudly placed on my front porch. Honestly, she was right. My yard was tacky.  Helen had good taste and a keen eye. She knew what she was doing, even if her attempts to renovate my domicile made me mad.

Jesus sees the chaos of my life-the wood, hay and stubble. The Walmart gnomes and Dollar Store flamingos have to go. He replaces them with beautiful, heavenly gemstones and gold. Give Him the chance to re-decorate. His taste is impeccable. Let go of the temporal for the eternal.

Don’t be too busy or too annoyed to answer the door. Don’t hide in the kitchen like you do when the Jehovah’s witness lady rings the doorbell. Throw wide the door and welcome Him with open arms. Receive His love and warm presence.

My mother-in-law is now with Jesus. I miss her. Roger and I were doing a mission conference in Turkey when she drew her last breath. We missed holding her hand in those precious final moments. I will regret it for the rest of my life. I took her love for granted when she visited.

You only have one life, one house. Fling wide the door of your heart and welcome your Savior.