Study 3 JESUS AT HOME IN THE HEART
TWELVE OF MY FAVOURITE BIBLICAL THEMES
by Francis Dixon
Study verses: Ephesians 3:17
The words before us are part of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Christians at Ephesus. In Colossians 1:27 he describes Christians as those who have Christ living in them, but in Ephesians 3:17 he prays that Christ, who was already living in their hearts, might ’dwell, abide, settle down and be at home’ in their hearts. Paul’s prayer does not indicate that he was not aware that Christ does already live in every believing heart. The word ‘dwell’ literally means ’to take up residence’, coming from an old English word which means ’to establish a home’. So Paul was praying that the Christians might make their hearts the home of the Lord Jesus (John 14:23). Is Christ at home in my heart? Well, let’s think of ourselves as houses. How do we make a guest feel at home in our house, our home? If Christ comes to my home, how should I treat Him?
1. He must be warmly welcomed
It is important to begin here, and in order to make the matter clear look up John 1:12, and compare Luke 19:5-6, where we have illustrations of this; also look up Revelation 3:20. Have you welcomed the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart?
2. He must be given the run of the whole house
In other words, if Christ has entered my heart I must give Him freedom of action; I must allow Him to be free to do just what He would like to do! This is how we make our friends feel at home when they come, and this is what we must do with the Lord who has come to live in our hearts. He must have the freedom to go through the hall, into the dining-room, the lounge, the bedrooms, or out into the garden. No doors must be marked ’Private’, and rooms must not be locked. Have you given Him the run of your house, of your heart?
3. He must be offered the best of all I have
When we welcome guests we give them the best food to eat, the best chair to sit in, the best room and bed in which to sleep. In fact, nothing is too good for them. It must be like this with our Lord, who after all is not only great (Luke 1:32); holy (Luke 1:35); but who is so worthy of our best (Mark 14:3); indeed, our all (Romans 12:1). Have you given Him the best of your love? (John 21:15-17); of your time? - look up Ephesians 5:16; of your talents? – look up Matthew 25:15; of your money? - look up Mark 12:41-44. Have you placed yourself completely at His disposal? Do you study His likes and dislikes? What about the people you invite into your home? What about the books on your shelves? What about the papers you read? What a practical matter this is!
4. He must be made to feel relaxed and wanted the whole time
Sometimes when we visit friends they say, ‘Make yourselves at home!’ What do they mean? Well, just that; you must feel completely at ease! Does the Lord feel at ease in this way in your house, in your heart? - or are there dubious things, such as wrong friendships, dishonest transactions or actions motivated by jealousy? Is there criticism or bad language? Are there secret sins or unholy alliances? How uneasy the Holy Spirit must be, living in a heart where these things are entertained!
5. He must be made to feel He is a member of the family
It is not enough to treat Him as a visitor, and certainly not as a servant! - yet we do treat Him as a servant sometimes. We forget that He longs for and wants above everything else our friendship and fellowship - indeed, He wants us (Malachi 3:16).
6. He must be drawn into the conversation and made to feel that those in the house like to listen to Him and take His wise advice
We must talk to Him and be on intimate speaking terms with Him. Just imagine living in a house and not being spoken to! Do we listen to His voice, like Mary? - look up Luke 10:39.
7. Our gracious guest must be recognised and respected as the divine host
Jesus is the perfect guest, but because of who He is He becomes the host, the one who is Lord, who is in charge, who is in control. Notice how this happened at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. He arrived as a guest, but before long He was recognised as the chief one there (John 2:1-11). Notice how this happened at the end of the Emmaus Road journey; He was the invited guest, to begin with, but He took the place of the host (Luke 24:28-32). We have an illustration of this in Revelation 3:20, where Jesus not only waits to come into the heart as a guest, but having come in assumes His rightful position as host.
Is He at home in your heart? When William Booth of the Salvation Army was asked, ”What is the secret of your life, of the way in which God has blessed and used you?” he answered, ”There came a day in my life when I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, thou shalt have all there is of me, all there is of William Booth!'” That is the secret of being sure that the Lord Jesus is really at home in your heart.