Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
A BfA staff member talks about her experience of God making home in her heart.
I’m in the midst of preparing to make my first interstate move, and I don’t have somewhere to move into yet. An impending move-out deadline, coupled with trying to find a new place to live in a busy city, really got me thinking about the idea of home. What is it that makes a place a home?
During this unsettled state of affairs, the Lord reminded me of some verses in the Bible that have helped me realize I’m not alone in my feeling of homelessness.
God Himself is looking for a place to call home.
In Ephesians 2:22, Paul told the believers that they “are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” This verse shows us that God wants to set up His dwelling place in mankind, in our spirit.
In the same book, the apostle Paul also prays on behalf of the believers, “that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith” (Eph. 3:17). I’m sure most of you have heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” This verse clearly indicates that Christ wants to make our heart His home.
When we believed in the Lord, we were regenerated and He came to live in us, in our spirit. But He doesn’t just want to live in our spirit; He wants to make his home in our hearts. And, as these verses imply, His home is not yet complete. His dwelling place is still being built in us.
What makes a place a home?
There’s a difference between a place where you live and the place you call home. You could live in a hotel as a guest, or in a dorm room as a college student, but you probably wouldn’t call it your home. So what makes a place we live a home?
One particular definition of home from Merriam-Webster resonated with me:
“a familiar or usual setting; congenial (having the same nature, disposition, or tastes) environment; also: the focus of one’s domestic attention.”
Merriam-Webster also defines the phrase at home as:
1. relaxed and comfortable; at ease
2. in harmony with the surroundings
3. on familiar ground
In other words, home is not just a place of residence. It’s a place of comfort and rest, a place where you are at ease and where the things around you are familiar, harmonious, and just how you like them. It’s not just a place where you eat and sleep; it’s a place that expresses your tastes and preferences. This is true for us, and it’s also true for God.
But isn’t heaven God’s home?
Isaiah 66:1-2 tells us something quite remarkable:
“Thus says Jehovah, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is the footstool for My feet. Where then is the house that you will build for Me, and where is the place of My rest? For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being, declares Jehovah. But to this kind of man will I look, to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”
God doesn’t want His home to be in the things He made with His hand, but in the man that chooses to allow God to make His home in him. This is His desire in saving us. God wants a home built up in the hearts of all His people.
Is your heart a guestroom or a home?
If a place is really our home, every room is accessible to us. No place is off limits. But when we go to our friend’s house, even if they say, “Make yourself at home,” we don’t have the same freedom. No matter how hard we try to feel at home, there are still places we can’t go and things we wouldn’t do. We’re still in someone else’s house.
In Ephesians, Paul prayed for Christ to make His home in the believers’ hearts. Our hearts have many “rooms,” and we might not have allowed the Lord into all of them. We may not be ready to open up certain areas of our inner being to Him. But this means that He is still a guest in our hearts.
As we spend time with the Lord each day, we can practice to open up a little more of our hearts to Him. We can open the way we think, our feelings, or our choices to Him and allow Him to come and settle Himself in us. Eventually, He will have access to our whole heart, and He will have His home there.
As I continue to pack and prepare for my imminent move, I’m happy the Lord reminded me that He is also moving. He’s moving into me in order to make His home there. He’s moving into my heart to make it His home.
I hope that as we come home after a long day or lay down at night to rest, we’ll all have this same realization. Then we can remember to pray, “Lord, make Your home more in my heart today. I don’t want You to remain only in my spirit. Spread in me. Make Yourself comfortable in every part of my heart. Lord, make me the kind of person in whom You can find the place of Your rest.” This gives Christ the freedom to go where He pleases and do what He likes in us. Then, He is no longer just a guest in our spirit; then, He can make our heart His home.
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