An Unwelcome Guest?
Did you ever stay in someone’s home and feel awkward there?
- You feel an undercurrent of uneasiness
- Even though they welcomed you into their home with a smile, you get the feeling that you are intruding on a personal intimate setting where you are not welcome.
- The might be times when you hear whispering behind closed doors and you wonder if they are saying, “Who invited him?” or “When will she leave?”
- When you say, “Well, I guess I’d better get going” they are quick to say with false heartiness, “Thanks for stopping by!” as they hurry to get your shoes and coat.
Our Home Is The Center of Our World
Since our home is really at the center of our world we are protective of our privacy and guard our home against unwelcome visitors. Our home is:
- A place of security
- The place where we are truly accepted for who we are
- Where you can be yourself
- A place where you can really let down and relax
- Your retreat from a busy noisy demanding world
- Where you live with family – people who share your name
We have a lot of familiar sayings about home:
- When are you coming home?
- I can’t wait to get home!
- There’s no place like home (Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)
- Love makes a house a home
- Are we home yet?
- Home Sweet Home
- Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home (Song by John Howard Payne)
- I’ll be home for Christmas
- I’m homesick
Ephesians 3:17 is written with all these implications about home-life in mind.
Ephesians 3:17 “Your Heart His home”
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”
We have all heard the invitation to “invite Christ into your heart” many times. It is important to know that this is the only verse in the entire Bible that talks about Christ “living in our hearts” or “receiving Christ into your heart” and it is written to Christians!
So what is the message that this verse has for believers? Let’s take this verse phrase by phrase to understand what God is teaching us about Christ’s home on earth.
Scripture uses many names for God’s Son: Jesus, Christ, Lord, Savior, the Holy One, the Word, the good Shepherd, Immanuel, the Lamb of God, the Rock, and many more (over 200 names in total). So it is important to know why God chose this name of Jesus when He emphasizes the idea that Christ “dwells in your heart.”
The name Christ is the formal name of the authority of Jesus. He is the anointed One sent from God to earth as the exact image of the invisible God. The name Christ reminds us that Jesus is eternal God who came to earth to bring us forgiveness of sin and to initiate our fellowship with God the Father.
Ephesians 3:17 uses the name Christ to emphasize that the Eternal God has made our heart his home on earth. We are to remember the awesome nature of our relationship with God.
The word translated “dwell” is a fascinating word in the original Greek according to scholar Dr. Kenneth Wuest. It is a combination word made up of two Greek words: The word for “home” and the word “settle down.” We should read this word with its full original meaning – “that Christ might settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts.”
It is the intention of Christ to make your heart the place where he can settle down and feel completely at home. It means that He is not a visitor in your heart, or just making an occasional stopover visit there. Your heart should be His permanent home on earth. He should feel welcomed, not as a guest, but as a full time resident who shares ownership. He should never be thought of as an intruder, a guest who stays too long, or an inconvenience.
“In Your Hearts”
When the Bible talks about “your heart” it does not mean the physical muscle that pumps blood through your body. In Scripture the heart is the crucial center of your spiritual life; it is the center of your personality, your thoughts, will, emotions, and whatever else lies at the center of your being.
As your physical heart is necessary for life, so the Bible speaks of your spiritual heart as the center of who you are, what you think, how you feel, and your relationship with God.
Christ settles down and feels at home in your heart “through faith.” What does this mean?
The Lord Jesus makes your heart His personal residence when you were saved (John 14:23; Rev. 3:20). But that is not the subject of this prayer. Here it is not a question of His being in you, but rather of His feeling at home there!
We enter into the enjoyment of His indwelling in our heart through faith. This involves constant dependence on Him, constant surrender to Him, and constant recognition of His “at home-ness.” It is through daily living by faith that we “practice His presence.”
Jesus entered your spiritual heart the day you put your faith in Him as your Savior. But this prayer of Paul should resonate in you with a desire for more than that! Christ wants to be invited and welcomed as a permanent resident who is made to feel at home through your daily obedience to Him through faith.
Theodore Epp, (Back to the Bible), wrote “He will be completely at home in our lives to the extent that He is truly Lord of our lives. When we received Him as Savior, He came to permanently indwell us, but our need now is to put Him first in everything so that He will be at home in us.
In order for Christ to control our lives, we must give up the self-life–we must desire to please Him rather than ourselves. This means we will have to say no to our own desires when they conflict with His.”
Is Your Heart Ready To Be His Permanent Home?
Paul is praying for a deeper experience between Christ and His people. He longs for Christ to settle down and feel at home in their hearts—not a surface relationship, but an ever-deepening fellowship.
If Christ visited your heart unexpectedly, what would he find there?
- What are your secret thoughts?
- What do you really think of the people in your life?
- What do you invite into your heart and thoughts?
- What are your desires, dreams, and motives?
- Who is the ultimate authority over your heart – yourself or Christ?
You can only find the deep peace, satisfaction, and joy that you are hungry for when you make Christ the permanent, welcomed resident of your heart. Allow Him to enter your heart by daily faith, to make himself completely at home, and permit him to discard the clutter, the selfishness, and the sins that have contaminated your heart.
Let Your Heart Be Christ’s Home
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Ephesians 3:17 “I pray… that Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts through faith…” (Wuest, Expanded Translation)