Heart ~ Christ's Home
his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes these words:
[God] may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in
the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Eph
as another has translated, “That Christ may settle down and be at home
in your hearts by faith” (Weymouth).
Without question one of the most remarkable Christian doctrines is
that Jesus Christ himself through the Holy Spirit will actually enter a
heart, settle down and be at home there.
Christ will live in any human heart that welcomes him.
He said to his disciples, “If
a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we
will come to him and make our home with him”
But he was also telling them that he was soon to leave them (Jn
It was difficult for them to understand what he was saying.
How was it possible for him both to leave them and make his home
with them at the same time?
It is interesting that Jesus uses a similar concept here (home)
that he uses earlier in John
go to prepare a place for you . . . that where I am, you may be also”
He was promising that just as he was going to heaven to prepare a
place for them and would one day welcome them there, so it would be
possible for them to prepare a place for him in their hearts now.
He would come and make his home with them right here.
This was beyond their comprehension.
How could it be?
Then came Pentecost.
The Spirit of the living Christ was given to the church and they
experienced what he had foretold.
Now they understood.
God did not dwell in Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem—nor in any
temple made with hands!
Now, through the miracle of the outpoured Spirit, God would dwell
in human hearts.
The body of the believer had become the temple of the living God
and the human heart the home of Jesus Christ.
Thirty minutes after Pentecost the disciples knew more about Jesus
than they had known in the three years previously.
It is difficult for me to think of a higher privilege than to make
for Christ a home in my heart, to welcome, to serve, to please and to know
I will never forget the evening I invited him into my heart.
What an entrance he made!
It was not a spectacular, emotional thing, but very real, occurring
at the very center of my soul.
He came into the darkness of my heart and turned on the light.
He built a fire in the cold hearth and banished the chill.
He started music where there had been stillness and harmony where
there had been discord. He filled the emptiness with his own loving
I have never regretted opening the door to Christ and I never will.
This, of course, is the first step in making the heart Christ’s
has said, “Behold,
I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the
door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev
If you want to know the reality of God and the personal presence of
Jesus Christ at the innermost part of your being, simply open wide the
door and ask him to come in and be your Savior and Lord.
After Christ entered my heart, in the joy of that new-found
relationship, I said to him, “Lord, I want this heart of mine to be
want you to settle down here and be fully at home.
I want you to use it as your own.
Let me show you around and point out some of the features of the
home so that you may be more comfortable.
I want you to enjoy our time together.”
He was glad to come and seemed delighted to be given a place in my
ordinary, little heart.
The first room we looked at together was the study—the library.
Let us call it the study of the mind.
Now in my home this room of the mind is a small room with thick
walls. But it is an important
room. In a sense, it is the
control room of the house. He
entered with me and looked around at the books in the bookcase, the
magazines on the table, the pictures on the walls.
As I followed his gaze, I became uncomfortable.
Strangely enough, I had not felt bad about this room before, but
now that he was there with me looking at these things, I was embarrassed.
There were some books on the shelves his eyes were too pure to look
at. On the table were a few
magazines a Christian has no business reading.
As for the pictures on the walls—the imaginations and thoughts of
my mind—some of these were shameful.
Red-faced, I turned to him
and said, “Master, I know this room really needs to be cleaned up and
made over. Will you help me
shape it up and change it to the way it ought to be?”
replied. “I’m glad to
help you! I’ve come to
handle things like this! First
of all, take all the material you are reading and viewing which are not
true, good, pure and helpful, and throw them out!
Now put on the empty shelves the books of the Bible.
Fill the library with the Scriptures and meditate on them day and
night. As for the pictures on
the walls, you will have difficulty controlling these images, but I have
something that will help.” He
gave me a full-sized portrait of himself.
“Hang this centrally,” he said, “on the wall of the mind.”
I did, and I have discovered through the years that when my
thoughts are centered on Christ, the awareness of his presence, purity and
power causes wrong and impure thoughts to back away.
So he has helped me to bring my thoughts under his control, but the
If you have difficulty
with this little room of the mind, let me encourage you to bring Christ
there. Pack it full with the
Word of God, study it, meditate on it and keep clearly before you the
presence of the Lord Jesus.
The Dining Room
From the study we went
into the dining room, the room of appetites and desires.
Now this was a large room, a most important place to me.
I spent a lot of time and hard work trying to satisfy all my wants.
I told him, “This is a
favorite room. I’m sure you will be pleased with what we serve
He seated himself at the
table and inquired, “What is on the menu for dinner tonight?”
“Well,” I said, “my
favorite dishes: money, academic degrees, stocks, with newspaper
articles of fame and fortune as side dishes.”
These were the things I liked, thoroughly secular fare.
There was nothing so very bad in any of them, but it was not really
the kind of food which would feed the soul and satisfy true spiritual
When the plates were
placed before my new friend, he said nothing.
However, I observed that he did not eat.
I asked, somewhat disturbed, “Savior, don’t you like this food?
What is the trouble?”
He answered, “I have
food to eat you do not know of. My
food is to do the will of him that sent me.”
He looked at me again and said, “If you want food that really
satisfies you, do the will of your heavenly Father.
Put his pleasure before your own.
Stop striving for your own desires, your own ambitions, your own
satisfactions. Seek to please
him. That food will really
satisfy you. Try a bit of it!”
And there about the table
he gave me a taste of doing God’s will.
What flavor! There is
no food like it in all the world. It
alone satisfies. At the end
everything else leaves you hungry.
What’s the menu in the
dining room of our desires? What
kind of food are we serving our divine companion and serving ourselves? “All
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and
the pride of life” (1
our self-centered wants? Or
are we finding God’s will to be our soul-satisfying meat and drink?
The Living Room
We moved next into the living room. This
was a quiet, comfortable room with a warm atmosphere.
I liked it. It had a
fireplace, sofa, overstuffed chairs, a bookcase and an intimate
He also seemed pleased
with it. He said, “Indeed,
this is a delightful room. Let’s
come here often. It’s
secluded and quiet, and we can have good talks and fellowship together.”
Well, naturally, as a
young Christian I was thrilled. I
couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes
alone with Christ in close companionship.
He promised, “I will be
here every morning early. Meet
me here and we will start the day together.”
So, morning after morning,
I would go downstairs to the living room.
He would take a book of the Bible from the bookcase, open it, and
we would read it together. He
would unfold to me the wonder of God’s saving truth recorded on its
pages and make my heart sing as he shared all he had done for me and would
be to me. Those times together were wonderful. Through the Bible and his Holy Spirit he would talk to me.
In prayer I would respond. So
our friendship deepened in these quiet times of personal conversation.
However, under the pressure of many responsibilities, little by little, this time began to be shortened. Why, I’m not sure. Somehow I assumed I was just too busy to give special, regular time to be with Christ. This was not a deliberate decision, you understand; it just seemed to happen that way. Eventually not only was the period shortened, but I began to miss days now and then, such as during midterms or finals. Matters of urgency demanding my attention were continually crowding out the quiet times of conversation with Jesus. Often I would miss it two days in a row or more.
One morning, I recall
rushing down the steps in a hurry to be on my way to an important
As I passed the living
room, the door was open. Glancing
in I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus sitting there.
Suddenly, in dismay, it came to me, “He is my guest.
I invited him into my heart! He
has come as my Savior and Friend to live with me.
Yet here I am neglecting him.”
I stopped, turned and
hesitantly went in. With
downcast glance I said, “Master, I’m sorry!
Have you been here every morning?”
“Yes,” he said, “I
told you I would be here to meet with you.”
I was even more ashamed! He
had been faithful in spite of my faithlessness.
I asked him to forgive me and he did, as he always does when we
acknowledge our failures and want to do the right thing.
He said, “The trouble is
that you have been thinking of the quiet time, of Bible study and prayer,
as a means for your own spiritual growth.
This is true, but you have forgotten that this time means something
to me also. Remember, I love
you. At a great cost I have
redeemed you. I value your
fellowship. Just to have you
look up into my face warms my heart.
Don’t neglect this hour if only for my sake.
Whether or not you want to be with me, remember I want to be with
you. I really love you!”
You, know, the truth that
Christ wants my fellowship, that he loves me, wants me to be with him and
waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any
other single fact. Don’t
let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find
a time and place when, with the Word of God and in prayer, you may be
together with him.
Before long he asked, “Do
you have a workroom in your house?”
Out in the garage of the
home of my heart I had a workbench and some equipment, but I was not doing
much with it. Once in a while
I would play around at making a few little gadgets, but I wasn’t
producing anything substantial.
I took him out there.
He looked over the
workbench and the few talents and skills I had.
He said, “This is fairly well furnished.
What are you producing with your life for the kingdom of God?”
He looked at one or two of the little toys that I had thrown
together on the bench and he held one up to me.
“Is this the sort of thing you are doing for others in your
I felt terrible!
“Lord, that’s the best I can do.
I know it isn’t much. I’m
ashamed to say that with my awkwardness and limited ability, I don’t
think I’ll ever do much more.”
“Would you like to do
better?” he asked.
“You know I would!” I
first remember what I taught you: ‘Apart
from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5).”
“Come, relax in me and
let my Spirit work through you. I
know you are unskilled, clumsy and awkward, but the Spirit is the Master
worker. If he controls your
heart and your hands, he will work through you.
Now turn around.” Then
putting his great strong arms around me and his hands under mine he picked
up the tools and began to work through me.
“Relax. You are
still too tense. Let go—let
me do the work!”
It amazes me what his
skilled hands can do through mine if I only trust him and let him have his
way. I am very far from
satisfied with the product that is being turned out.
I still get in his way at times.
There’s much more that I need to learn.
But I do know that whatever has been produced for God has been
through him and through the power of his Spirit in me.
Don’t be discouraged
because you cannot do much for God. It’s
not our ability but our availability that’s important.
Give what you are to Christ. Be
sensitive and responsive to what he wants to do. Trust him. He
will surprise you with what he can do through you!
I remember the time he
inquired about the rec room, where I went for fun and fellowship. I was hoping he would not ask me about that.
There were certain associations and activities I wanted to keep for
myself. I did not think Jesus
would enjoy or approve of them. I
evaded the question.
However, one evening when
I was on my way out with some of my buddies for a night on the town, he
was at the door and stopped me with a glance.
“Are you going out?”
I answered, “Yes.”
“Good,” he said, “I
would like to go with you.”
“Oh,” I replied rather
awkwardly. “I don’t
think, Lord, that you would really enjoy where we are going.
Let’s go out together tomorrow night.
Tomorrow night we can go to a Bible class or a social at the
church, but tonight I have another engagement.”
“As you wish,” was his
comment. “Only I thought
when I came into your home we were going to do everything together—be
close companions! Just know
that I am willing to go with you!”
“Well,” I said, “we’ll
go someplace together tomorrow night!”
That evening I spent some
miserable hours. I felt
rotten! What kind of a friend
was I to Jesus? Deliberately
leaving him out of part of my life, doing things and going places that I
knew very well he would not enjoy? When
I returned that evening, there was a light in his room and I went up to
talk it over with him. I
acknowledged, “Lord, I have learned my lesson.
I know now I can’t have a good time if you are not along.
From now on we will do everything together!”
Then we went down together
into the rec room of the house. He
transformed it. He brought
new friendships, new excitement, new joys.
Laughter and music have been ringing in the house ever since. With a twinkle in his eye, he smiled, “You thought that
with me around you wouldn’t have much fun, didn’t you?
Remember, I have come ‘that
my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full’” (Jn 15:11).
One day when we were in my
bedroom he asked me about the picture next to my bed.
“That’s a picture of
my girlfriend,” I told him. Though
I knew my relationship with my girlfriend was a good one, I felt funny
talking to him about it. She
and I were struggling with some issues and I didn’t want to discuss them
with him. I tried to change
But Jesus must have known
what I was thinking. “You
are beginning to question my teaching on sex, aren’t you?
That intercourse is only for those who are joined in the covenant
of marriage? You’re feeling
I may be asking something unnatural if not impossible for you. You’re afraid my will on this will limit the full enjoyment
of life and love. Isn’t that
“Yes,” I confessed.
“Then listen carefully
to what I am saying,” he continued.
“I forbid adultery and premarital sex not because sex is bad but
because it is good. Beyond
the physical ecstasy it is a means of bonding two lives in deepening love.
It has the creative power to bring human life into being.
Sex is powerful. Used properly sex has tremendous potential for good.
Used improperly, it destroys the good.
For this reason God intends it to be expressed only within the
commitment of a loving life partnership.
There is far more to love than just sex.
“Let me help you in your
relationship with the opposite sex. If
you should fail and feel shame and guilt, know I still love you and will
remain with you. Talk to me
about it! Acknowledge the
wrong! Take steps to avoid it
happening again! Rely on my
strength to keep you from falling and to lead you into a relationship of
love in marriage where two truly become one in me.”
There’s one more matter
of crucial consequence I would like to share with you.
One day I found him waiting for me at the front door.
An arresting look was in his eye.
As I entered, he said to me, “There’s a peculiar odor in the
house. Something must be dead
around here. It’s upstairs.
I think it is in the hall closet.”
As soon as he said this I
knew what he was talking about. Indeed
there was a small closet up there on the hall landing, just a few feet
square. In that closet behind
lock and key I had one or two little personal things I did not want
anybody to know about. Certainly
I did not want Christ to see them. They
were dead and rotting things leftover from the old life—not
wicked, but not right and good to have in a Christian life.
Yet I loved them. I
wanted them so much for myself I was really afraid to admit they were
there. Reluctantly I went up
the stairs with him and as we mounted, the odor became stronger and
stronger. He pointed at the
door and said, “It’s in there! Some
It made me angry!
That’s the only way I can put it.
I had given him access to the study, the dining room, the living
room, the workroom, the rec room, the bedroom and now he was asking me
about a little two-by-four closet. I said to myself, “This is too much! I am not going to give him the key.”
“Well,” he responded,
reading my thought, “if you think I am going to stay up here on the
second floor with this smell, you are mistaken.
I will take my bed out on the back porch or somewhere else.
I’m certainly not going to stay around that.” And I saw him start down the stairs.
When you have come to know
and love Jesus Christ, one of the worst things that can happen is to sense
him withdrawing his face and fellowship.
I had to give in. “I’ll
give you the key,” I said sadly, “but you’ll have to open the closet
and clean it out. I haven’t
the strength to do it.”
“I know,” he said.
“I know you haven’t. Just
give me the key. Just
authorize me to handle that closet and I will.”
So, with trembling fingers, I passed the key over to him.
He took it from my hand, walked over to the door, opened it,
entered it, took out the putrefying stuff that was rotting there and threw
it all away. Then he cleansed
the closet, painted it and fixed it up all in a moment’s time.
Immediately a fresh, fragrant breeze swept through the house.
The whole atmosphere changed.
What release and victory to have that dead thing out of my life!
No matter what sin or what pain there might be in my past, Jesus is
ready to forgive, to heal and to make whole.
Then a thought came to me. I
said to myself, “I have been trying to keep this heart of mine clean and
available for Christ but it is hard work.
I start on one room and no sooner have I cleaned it than I discover
another room is dirty. I
begin on the second room and the first one is already dusty again.
I’m getting tired trying to maintain a clean heart and an
obedient life. I just am not
up to it!”
Suddenly I asked, “Lord,
is there a possibility you would be willing to manage the whole house and
operate it for me just as you did that closet?
Could I give to you the responsibility of keeping my heart what it
ought to be and myself doing what I ought to be doing?”
I could see his face light
up as he replied, “I’d love to! This
is exactly what I came to do. You
can’t live out the Christian life in your own strength.
That is impossible. Let
me do it for you and through you. That’s
the only way it will really work! But,”
he added slowly, “I am not the owner of this house. Remember, I’m here as your guest. I have no authority to take charge since the property is not
In a flash it all became
clear. Excitedly I exclaimed,
“Lord, you have been my guest, and I have been trying to play the host. From now on you are going to be the owner and master of the
house. I’m going to be the
Running as fast as I could
to the strongbox, I took out the title deed to the house describing its
assets and liabilities, its condition, location and situation. Then rushing back to him, I eagerly signed it over giving
title to him alone for time and eternity.
Dropping to my knees, I presented it to him, “Here it is, all
that I am and have forever. Now
you run the house. Just let
me stay with you as houseboy and friend.”
He took my life that day
and I can give you my word, there is no better way to live the Christian
life. He knows how to keep it
and use it. A deep peace
settled down on my soul that has remained.
I am his and he is mine forever!
May Christ settle down and
be at home as Lord of your heart also.
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