Jesus: At Home in Your Heart
A Topical Study of Eph_3:14-17
Confusion must have filled their hearts. Questions must have flooded their minds, for hadn't Jesus said, "In My Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you" (see Joh_14:2)? Why, then, a few moments later did He say, "If a man love Me, He will keep My words. My Father will love him and We will come unto him and make our abode with him" (see Joh_14:23)?
"I'm going to prepare a place for you," Jesus said—"and yet I will come and live in you." We see Paul the apostle using the same imagery in our text when he says his prayer is that Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith. The Greek word translated "dwell" is katoikeo. Oikeo means "to dwell in a house." Kat means "down." Therefore, katoikeo means "down home."
The idea is that Jesus would be completely at home in our hearts.
"Behold, I stand at the door of your heart and knock," Jesus said. "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me" (Rev_3:20).
Holman Hunt's famous painting, depicting Jesus standing at the door of what appears to be an English cottage, hangs in St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
"There's a problem with your painting, Mr. Hunt," a critic is reported to have said upon first viewing his work. "There's no doorknob on the door."
"Ah," Mr. Hunt is said to have replied, "the door handle is only on the inside, for it's up to the one within to respond to the knock of Jesus."
Jesus will not force His way into a heart. He won't barge in where He's not welcome. He's a perfect gentleman who knocks and says, "If you'll respond to Me, I'll come in and dine with you. But the choice is up to you."
Most of us have made that choice. We heard His knock and said, "Come in, Lord. Come into the home of my heart." And He did.
The Living Room
The first room He saw in the home of my heart was the living room. "Nice room," He said.
"Thanks, Lord. It's one of my favorite spots because it's relatively quiet and secluded."
"I'll meet you here every morning of every day," He said. "Before the day gets going, I'll meet you here in the early morning, and we'll talk about what's ahead. When I walked in Israel, I needed instruction and help daily from My Father. So morning by morning, the Father spoke into My ear, giving me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary (Isa_50:4). And now I'll do the same for you."
What followed was great. I would come into the living room, a fire would be crackling in the fireplace, and Jesus would be there, ready to talk with me and listen to me. It was a great way to start the day. As time went on, however, things got busy, or so I thought. Rushing out the door to a meeting, I caught a glimpse of Him, sitting. And I realized I hadn't met with Him for a number of mornings. I stopped in my tracks and walked sheepishly over to where He was sitting, thinking He would lecture me. But He didn't. There was a smile on His face and a sparkle in His eye as He said, "As I was saying…" continuing the conversation we had shared the last time we were together. And I understood then, truly, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom_8:1). He just continues to make Himself available morning by morning to help me speak wisely and to navigate life successfully.
As the morning drew to a close, Jesus said, "What is that room over there?"
"Oh, that's my study. Come on in." He followed me in, and I noticed He was looking rather intently at the books on the shelves.
"Look, Lord," I said proudly, "I've got all the latest bestsellers: Winning Through Intimidation, Watch Out for Number One, I'm OK You're OK, Dressed for Success, and Awakening the Giant Within.
"Do these books work?" He asked.
"Not really," I answered. "That's why I keep collecting more."
"How about a book trade?" He asked.
"Sure, Lord. What do You have in mind?"
You give Me your books, and I'll give you sixty-six books bound in a single volume—one that will make you unashamed as you study to show yourself approved unto Me (2Ti_2:15), one that comes with an incredible guarantee that if you meditate upon it day and night, you will navigate life prosperously and successfully" (Jos_1:8).
He took my books. I took His. And suddenly my study was filled with a Book that would intrigue me for the rest of my life.
The Family Room
"What's that I hear down the hall?" Jesus asked.
"That's my family room," I said, opening the door. My kids stopped their playing and rushed toward Him.
"Back off, you guys," I said, laughing.
"I think I've heard that before," He said, "when some other disciples tried to keep their kids away from Me (see Mat_19:13). Allow them to come."
So they tackled Him, and He wrestled with my kids on the floor. They had the time of their lives. Then He calmed them down a bit and began telling them stories. I could see my oldest son nod his head in agreement, and a smile on the face of my youngest daughter. Suddenly, a peace enveloped the room that was usually so rambunctious, so disorderly, so chaotic.
"This is amazing, Lord," I said. "You've altered this room radically."
"That's why I asked you, as head of the house, to let me into the family room," He said. "I'll alter your kids, your marriage, your home, if you will build a family altar to Me. You see, more than any other group of people—more than your congregation or your elders or your friends—your wife and your kids are your primary disciples. So bring your family together, and learn of Me. There's nothing more important you can do."
The Recreation Room
Hearing a knock on the door, I opened it to find my buddies. We walked down the hall into the recreation room. "Lord, You wouldn't like it in here," I said. "This group is real rowdy. So I'll meet you in the living room in an hour or so."
The boys and I grabbed our pool cues, turned on the radio, and began doing what we did every Tuesday. But this time, it didn't work. The jokes just weren't as funny, and the conversation suddenly seemed shallow and empty. Even the lyrics of the music bothered me. After half an hour or so, I heard a knock on the door. It was Jesus.
He began to talk with my buddies, and I was absolutely amazed because they all loved Him. Oh, a couple of guys got upset and stormed out. But I learned later they weren't my friends after all. They just wanted to use my pool table.
I learned that Jesus is the Life of the party in the truest sense of the word. I also learned that I'm free to do anything as long as I have Him with me because He changes the atmosphere. Now, if I go into a party and the party changes me, then I must leave. But if the party changes and people start thinking about Jesus as a result of my being there, I am free. And I discovered that Jesus Christ had spoiled me—for I had too much of Him to enjoy the old spots. So I've learned to bring the Lord with me to all of my recreational pursuits, and to watch how He infuses them with His life.
The Dining Room
After working up quite an appetite, I said, "Lord, let's go get something to eat." We went into the dining room and sat down to my usual meal.
"This is what you eat?" the Lord asked.
"Every day," I answered.
"Really? This is the way you satisfy your appetite?" He asked incredulously as He looked at the large glob of cotton candy on my plate.
"This is the way I try to satisfy my cravings," I said. "I must admit, however, that although it looks good, when I take a bite, there's just nothing there. That's why I follow it with a hot fudge sundae. I eat the ice cream and the hot fudge and the whipped cream, and there's something there, all right—but every time I'm done, I feel sick. So I decide never to have another one. Then about five hours later, I think another hot fudge sundae would taste pretty good, so I dish one up again. But although I feel full—I never feel satisfied.
After hearing this, He went into the kitchen and came back a few minutes later with a most interesting meal for me: a little cup full of juice and a little piece of unleavened bread. "This is My body, eat of Me. This is my blood. Drink deeply," He said.
Something happened at my table that evening. It became the Lord's table. And it became incredibly satisfying to commune with Jesus. Feeling satisfied in a way I never had before, I suddenly understood what He meant when He said, "Whoever drinks of the water I shall give shall never thirst again" (see Joh_4:14).
Brother or sister—if you're thirsting today, it's because you've gone back to the old watering holes. If you're feeling empty and troubled, it's because you've gone back to the old ways. Whoever drinks of the water of the world will thirst over and over again, for it will never be enough. But whoever drinks of the water Jesus gives, will be satiated at last.
"What's behind that door?" the Lord asked.
"That's my workshop. I don't go out there much anymore," I said, opening the door, to find some unfinished wooden planes and cars on the worktable. "I've lost interest in these things," I said, "Besides, I'm not that good at woodworking"
"I'm a Master Carpenter," He said. "I can give you some help on these projects." So He gave me some advice on putting them together.
Then He said, "Now take those toys—the hobby you've been pursuing—and give them away."
So I grabbed my little toys, found some kids at the park, and said, "You guys want some planes and cars?" Their eyes lit up. And suddenly my hobby made sense.
"So that's what You meant, Lord, when You told us that in the measure we give out, it will be given back," I said (see Luk_6:38).
People garden, paint, remodel, bowl, and collect things only to get bored and go on to the next hobby. If hobbies, however, were used for someone else, what a difference it would make. You who like to garden—mow someone's lawn for free next Saturday and leave a note on the door saying, "God bless you." You who like to bake—make some cookies and give them to someone in need in Jesus' name. You who like to ride bikes—how about taking a kid who doesn't have a dad on a ride around the lake? In this way, biking, gardening, and baking have meaning because you're in the workshop using the talents and interests God gave you to share with others. Use those talents only for yourself, and you'll be boring and shallow. But give them away, and you'll be blown away with blessing.
What a difference the Lord has made in my heart. The workshop has meaning again. The family room is not so chaotic. The dining room satisfies the appetites and cravings of my heart. The study is rich with wisdom and insight.
But one day, the Lord said to me, "From the day I came in here, I've smelled something foul. It's making Me ill—not because of how it affects Me—but because I know it is poisonous to you and your family. There's a toxic dump somewhere in this house, and I've determined it's behind that door right down the hall."
"Oh, Lord," I said, "that's just an old closet. I'm going to take care of it sometime. I know it stinks, but You'll grow accustomed to it. Trust me, I've had it for a number of years, and I don't even notice anymore."
"Can I have a look?" He asked.
"No, Lord," I said. "I've given You entry into every room in the house of my heart. But that one closet is mine. I know it stinks, but it's mine. You're welcome to go where You want and do what You wish in every other room—but that closet belongs to me."
With that, He slipped away into the farthest corner of the home. And suddenly, the family room lost its life. The study became tedious. The old songs began to be played in the recreation room. And the dining room table held only cotton candy and hot fudge sundaes. After several days, I said, "Lord, I don't want You stuck off in a corner of the house. I want You to move around freely. I need You in my family room. I need You in my study. I need You in the living room. But I can't deal with that closet, Lord. I don't know what to do."
"All I'm asking," He replied, "is that you agree with Me that it stinks and that it's got to go. I'll do the rest—but you must give me your permission." That's what confession is. Confession simply means to agree. That's why the apostle John says if we confess our sin, He will be faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jn_1:9).
I had forgotten how good a house could smell. I was reminded of the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Mary poured ointment on Jesus, and John records that the fragrance filled the whole house (Joh_12:3). In other words, the whole house smelled like Jesus.
"Lord, You have been such a wonderful influence in the house of my heart," I said. "From now on, it's Your house. I'll be the guest. You be the owner.
Smiling, He said, "I have a better idea. Now that you've given Me your house, let's go to My house. I've been working on it for two thousand years. I can't wait to show you what I've prepared for you."
Once I gave Him control of my home, His work was done. Now He could take me to His home. And that's a whole new story. I can't tell it to you because eyes have not seen and ears have not heard the things God has prepared for those who love Him (1Co_2:9). It's a story beyond description.
That's where we're going, gang. You who, by faith, have allowed Christ to dwell in your hearts, to be at home in your hearts, will soon find yourself at home in the place He's preparing for you. In the meantime, while we await that day, we can experience a bit of heaven in our lives presently as we allow Him to be at home in every room of our hearts. May the Lord help us to give Him the keys to every closet, the title deed to the home in its entirety. May we be those who say, "Come on in, Lord. It's all Yours."
Love in the Coming One – JESUS CHRIST MASCHIAGH NAGIDjimmy