I had kind of as funny flashback this morning… I was in the kitchen getting something for Piper when I heard the dog shifting his feet under the table in the dining room and heard the familiar clicking of his nails as he most likely was coming in to see if I had any tid-bits for him. The funny part was that without much thought, I was expecting to see our old black dog come around the corner - only to be surprised to see a big white paw step into the room instead! I had to laugh when I caught myself and realized how easy it is to fall into old familiar patterns of life!
And in speaking of old patterns… I was thinking as I studied from Paul’s prayer in Ephesians three earlier today, that in many respects, this portion of scripture has been an “old familiar pattern” in my life that has given me much strength and confidence over the years. Paul seems to be centering the entire prayer on the important need for us to have an ever-increasing, intimate knowing of Christ’s love for us. This intimate knowledge of His love for me has been the overwhelming force that has carried me through the thick and thin of the attack on my wife’s health and all the… shall we say “color and commotion” that has accompanied it!
My commentary on the book of Ephesians points out four requests that Paul asks of the Lord for his readers in this prayer. “He prays that the inner man might have spiritual strength, which in turn, lead to a deeper experience with Christ. This deeper experience will enable them to apprehend God’s great love, which will result in their being filled unto all the fullness of God.” *
In describing a deeper experience or depth for the believer, he paints of picture through the use of three words: dwell, rooted and grounded. Today I would like to get us thinking a little bit on what it means to have Christ “dwell” in our hearts. Dr. Kenneth Wuest in his New Testament – An Expanded Translation, explains the idea of “dwell” in this part of the prayer in Ephesians 3:17 by saying “that the Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts…”
After reading that I had to quickly stop and honestly ask myself if I thought Christ would feel completely at home if He walked through the front door of our home. Would He feel out of place… uncomfortable with the décor, embarrassed by what He saw on the TV at the front of the living room, or just feel uneasy due to the tension in the air? I can remember many years ago when I walked in the door of a co-worker and friend’s at the first apartment complex my wife and I lived in back in 1975.
As I took my first step into the living room, I immediately felt uncomfortable. The room had a strong, sweet overpowering smell about it, there was a box of drugs on the coffee table and various girlie magazines strewn about the room. The surprise on my face must have immediately triggered my friend into action as he began to nervously laugh and run around the room frantically shoving the offending items under the couch! Is that the way we would react if Jesus walked into our front rooms?
On the other hand, I have enjoyed watching our new dog Fiver as he has rapidly become more and more comfortable in his new home. As time has gone by, he is more confident in checking out the various rooms of the house on his own and in not having to be in our presence 24/7! This morning he actually stayed on his pillow in the bedroom with Piper when I got up early to spend time in the Word. Up until today, he always jumped up with me and stayed at my feet anywhere in the house I went. He is also more comfortable investigating the large expanse of our backyard by himself… although he does still keep a watchful eye out to make sure he knows where we are!
In reading Paul’s prayer, I decided that I strongly desire Jesus to always feel at home in our home no matter what is going on in our lives at any given time. Our youngest daughter made the comment when they visited us from Oklahoma a few weeks back, declaring that even though we were in a new house, in a different state, with some new furniture, that our house still felt like home to her due to the familiar décor around the rooms and the old family pictures on the walls.
That’s exactly how I want Jesus to feel in my physical home as well as in the home of my heart. I want Him to experience some of those old familiar patterns of the Godly life, a life that is solely dependent on Him and His Word that are always visible and present in and around me! Those aren’t items that I want to shove under the couch when someone comes over, but items that I am proud to say and display of who (or whose) I am! What about you?
Have a great new week, and as you do keep looking around and asking yourself… “What am I expecting God to see when He walks in my front door?”
*”Be Rich” A Commentary on the book of Ephesians by Warren W. Wiersbe, chapter 7