Richard Burgess, 28.03.2021
Being a Christian is not about becoming an improved, better moral versions of ourselves, but becoming ourselves in Christ (i.e. Paul-in-Christ, Richard-in-Christ, Pam-in-Christ – you can put your name there) and so inhabiting him and he in us that we manifest his moral identity.
Is He a guest or the host?
The big question is, is he a guest or a host. If Jesus is only a guest we will never be like Jesus.
Compartmentalism is so much a part of today. We are given to so many things, and it’s very easy to separate them out into many disconnected parts in our lives. When we do this with our faith it means it has little day to day relevance, it becomes our Sunday best, something we put on when we go to church.
This is not how the Bible portrays being a Christian, rather it sees it as being the centre and circumference, and everything in between. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, said Jesus, not as the first in the list, but as the governing principle of life.
Making room for Jesus
That means that Jesus wants to be fully involved in our lives, in every part, to be in every room. In thinking like this, it’s good to ask ourselves, is Christ the guest or the host in our lives? When a person becomes a Christian we do not simply believe in Jesus as a person of history, as someone who lived and died for us, and rose again a ascended into heaven, we also receive him, he comes into our lives, into our hearts.
There has been some discussion about this, with some saying that nowhere in the New Testament are we told that we are to ask Jesus into our hearts, rather, to repent and believe the gospel. Yet, scripture does make reference to it.
John says, “To as many as received him…” (John 1:12), and Paul in Eph 3:14-21 prays that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… ” Its important to note that one, he dwells in our hearts, two, that the word carries the sense of increase to it, that there is room for expansion, for more of Jesus in our hearts/lives. I don’t know whether you’ve ever thought of that?
It might be helpful to think in terms of rooms, rooms used for different purposes, like in our homes, the kitchen, the dining room, the sitting room, the bedroom, the garage, the shed, etc. each used for differing purposes, and into which not everyone can go.
At new birth Christ comes to live in our spirit, but he wants to be in every part of our lives, otherwise it’s like he’s the guest staying in a room, and we pop in and pay him a visit at certain times, when actually he wants to be in every room, more than a guest, in fact, the host, and invited and involved in every part of life.
Christ wants to be in our single life, in our marriages, family life, work, business, leisure. He wants to be in our finances, decision making, thought life, emotions, and in our church life, etc.. The question then for us if we are to be like Jesus is, does he have access to every room, are their rooms he is excluded from. It may be that your struggle to grow in Christ is that you have compartmentalised him, as the one who saves you and gets you to heaven, when in actual fact he wants to be so much more.
As we draw to a close, why don’t you take time to seek him, and surrender those unsurrendered areas to him, inviting him into every room in your life.