FIRST-PERSON: Is God at home in you?
NASHVILLE (BP) -- I was challenged early in my ministry to read the Bible through in a single year, a practice I have continued since January 1974. God's Word continues to illuminate my heart with precious truths. Not a day goes by when God does not reveal something new, fresh and exciting to me.
I was reading in John 14 not long ago from Jesus' discourse in the Upper Room. I was taken by verse 23: "Jesus answered, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
In all honesty, though I have read it many times, it struck me in a powerful way, as if I had never seen it before. The Lord Jesus is speaking to His disciples just before Gethsemane and the cross. He makes a very interesting comment -- if we love Him and keep His Word, we will be loved by the Father, and Jesus and the Father will come and make their home with us. What a powerful statement this is!
The Lord's statement is actually an offer. When we have a relationship with the Lord, He comes to dwell within us.
We are taught to repent and believe at which time we receive the Holy Spirit. We are taught that the presence of the Lord will never leave us, something illustrated powerfully in Hebrews 13:5–6 as well as Matthew 28:19–20. And we yearn for a daily touch of God's Holy Spirit, continually seeking His filling and His power.
With that being said, I think it is still important that we hear this intimate offer from our Lord. He offers to come and actually make His home in us and with us.
Is He really welcome? Or do we try to crowd Him in with other causes, agendas or competing allegiances that serve as lesser gods in our lives?
We know what has happened in our nation. For many years we have given lip service to a Judeo-Christian ethic while at the same time ignoring the power of the Gospel. Has that happened with us individually? I am afraid often that it has. I am afraid the Lord has often not been very welcome to make His abode in us as a country, in our churches or even in our lives.
It's my hope and prayer that we will take this offer from our Lord seriously. May we so abide in Him that He knows He is totally welcome -- not merely invited to compete for space, allegiance and loyalty in our hearts, but welcomed and honored as the resident King and Lord of our lives.