When I sat down to write the blog for this week, a million ideas for a subject came to my mind, but having a hard time sorting through them all, I decided to just read the passage from Sunday’s message (Luke 8:40-48) and see what spoke to me. Something struck me in the first verse: “Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.”
Although it is only a small snippet of the passage, the crowd welcoming Jesus instantly made me think of how we are to welcome Christ into our hearts. At first, it seemed a bit out of context to relate the crowd waiting for Jesus to my relationship with my Savior; that is until I remembered a discussion on the same thing had come up in Sunday school class that morning, and I realized how well the two things actually connected.
A couple of years ago, I read My Heart Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger for my Senior year of High school. It’s a tiny, pamphlet-sized book, but the images it painted in my mind helped me understand my relationship with God in a new light. In the book, the author describes inviting Jesus into his heart, represented by a house with different rooms. The mental image of Christ living in my heart, as though it were His home, changed how I looked at my quiet time with God. The book ended with the author relinquishing full control of the house, so Christ owned it and lived in it.
Christ is not only the owner and indweller of the house but the builder as well. He designed the floor plan; he laid down every brick, beam, and stone; he fashioned the house to be just the way he intended it. He knows the house intimately, and yet He will not live in it without first being invited in. He knocks on the door, but he awaits our welcome before dwelling in us. Without Christ dwelling in the house, it will fall into disrepair. The walls need reinforcement where they have cracked under the weight of the world. The old, moldy carpet needs to be ripped out and replaced with new flooring. The plumbing needs maintenance, the furnace needs to be checked, and small repairs are needed in every corner. Sometimes, even whole walls need to be torn out.
The incredible thing is, Jesus can and will do all of this in our hearts- but He wants our participation. No, He requires it. Even so, He doesn’t barge in to take over without our consent. He knocks. He is patient, waiting for us to open the door to Him and invite Him into the very house He built with His own hands.
Just as the people on the shore waited for Jesus, hoping He would heal their sick and injured, so we must posture our hearts towards the making new of our hearts. There is a healing deeper than the physical that Jesus wants for us: the restoration of our hearts!
From Ezekiel 36:
“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey all my rules. You shall dwell in the land I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
… Thus says the LORD GOD: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled… And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, I will do it.”
The same God who restored Israel wants to be King of your heart. He wants to live in your heart, but not to leave it in the broken and unwhole state it is in; Christ wants to give you a wholly new heart.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
-2 Corinthians 5:14-17
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