“I ASSURE you, most solemnly I tell you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way (elsewhere, from some other quarter) is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep,” John 10:1-2, AMP.
When I first bought a house in Charlotte, I went out and bought a “welcome mat” and laid it at my front door. It was a symbol that showed those who approached the home that I was a warm and inviting person. It was a prelude to the kind of person I am. It represented the neighborly greeting that I had for those who chose to walk onto my front porch. But this welcome was limited to those who only had good intentions towards me.
Now, I would doubt seriously that anyone would put out a welcome mat to invite thieves, murderers, liars, backbiters, or manipulators. I sure wouldn’t. I would not want someone to come in and harm me or my family. I would try to place as many safeguards up as I possibly could, within reason of course. But this is where we differ from God. He has no conditions on the type of character we must have in order to come to Him. We can come as we are.
The welcome mat that Jesus lays before us is one that I’m sure is clean when we approach it, but all sorts of stains get left there once we “wipe our feet.” I imagine it to be clean, pure, and pristine in its very nature because that’s who He is. But once we step on it, I visualize all sorts of stains that tell of where we’ve been or of what we may have been doing.
Consider when it’s raining outside and you live down a dirt road. After you’ve darted across the yard to get to the front door, there is mud on the bottom of your shoes. Or if it’s a sunny day and you accidentally step into dog poop on the ground. What about walking along a paved sidewalk, your shoes get caught in gum that was thrown down by another? Now, that’s a mess. Would we enter the house without wiping our feet?
We take the time to either wipe our shoes clean or take them off all together. We wouldn’t dare think about trekking any of those elements into our “home.” I take this view and apply it similarly to crossing the threshold into God’s kingdom. We treat our homes with such respect and are very selective in whom we allow in, but for some reason think that God is not like that.
The welcome mat is set out, but we must be willing to wipe our feet before we go inside. As we visit another's home, do we bombard inside with mud and dirt on us without any regard? The mat is placed there for a reason and we are expected to use it. Just as the Bible is placed in our lives…we are expected to use it. This does not mean that you’re perfect or spotless; it means that you are in agreement to allow God’s welcome mat to clean you up.
Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He is the door. He cleanses us, having already taken upon Him our sins. God makes His presence known in the lives of those who welcome Him. Not only does He welcome us, He sends out personal invitations. All we have to do is receive.
"He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight," Psalm 101:7, KJV.
Additional Reference: Matthew 10:40