“I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross… the apostle prays “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. “That he may dwell”; not that he may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor…” – Charles H. Spurgeon
“Incarnation, atonement, justification, regeneration—what are these but acts of God preparatory to the work of invading and the act of indwelling the redeemed human soul? Man, who moved out of the heart of God by sin, now moves back into the heart of God by redemption. God, who moved out of the heart of man because of sin, now enters again His ancient dwelling to drive out His enemies and once more make the place of His feet glorious.” – AW Tozer
- Spiritual growth is fostered when the body of Christ identifies and utilizes its spiritual gifts in unity (Ephesians 4:15-16)
- Spiritual growth requires submission to the Head of the Body, that is Jesus Christ. Any deviation from this leads to heresy, sin, and spiritual death. (Colossians 2:18–19)
- A heart transplant is required beginning with turning away from sin and developing into a love fashioned from Christ’s for His church (our brothers and sisters in Christ) (Ezekiel 18:31–32 & Philippians 1:7–8)
Have you ever pondered about what it means to have Christ dwell in your heart? Can Christ be any closer? Can we be any more exposed? Can we experience God any more intimately? As a Christ follower, as we read Scriptures attest to the fact that Christ dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17-19), how does it make you feel about those sinful thoughts, selfish ambitions, revealing actions, or any other sordid sin of commission or seemingly “innocent” sin of omission? After all, Christ dwells in your heart… pause and reflect on that… Christ resides in your heart.
Perhaps spending some time reflecting on the significance of what it means to have the Creator of the universe so intimately engaged with His chosen people may help us recalibrate our focus on living a life of obedience and repentance. A contrite spirit and a heart formed after Christ’s remain the gateways to embracing an all-consuming grace and adopting a genuine fellowship amongst the body of believers.
A correct understanding of how we are to live in relationship with God and with our family in Christ, known as the church, is often quickly glossed over and rarely understood in even the most simplest of senses. I have been a Christian since 1999 and yet God laid this elementary message on my heart to not only preach to others but to bless and teach me anew. God has been building upon a series of recent personal experiences and thoughts over the past several months in which I have developed a refreshed passion to love His people and understand the origins of that love and obedience.
On occasion, a new perspective or a simple reminder of a basic set of precepts is the only catalyst we need to push ourselves into asking the revealing questions of Christian growth: (1) Do we truly believe our hearts are pure and would serve as a holy dwelling for Jesus Christ himself? (2) Do we truly love our brothers and sisters with the unyielding, passionate, unconditional, and sacrificial love that comes from Christ? Or do we cap our love, maintain our “composure”, hide our secrets, bury our sin, and deliver steady doses of our niceties (actively or passively / consciously or sub-consciously) to be seen as bearing “fruit”? Is it about our needs, our desires, our “love”, and ourselves?
I would encourage you to ask yourself; how do I spend my time, money, and energy? What makes me happy, sad, or joyous? What makes me frustrated and angry? What makes me care, jump to action, love, and serve God and His people? I find that all of these questions are linked to the questions posed initially hinged upon the simple concept that we must strive, by the power of the Spirit, to develop a heart of Christ within the body of Christ – now that is a dynamic relationship with God and an enriching, inspiring, and active community – that is what the Christian and the church ought to be!