#COMMITYOURHEART: Make Your Heart Jesus’ Home

#COMMITYOURHEART: Make Your Heart Jesus’ Home

I was ecstatic! Finally, I got the two-wheeled bicycle I begged for after two years. All my friends already had theirs. My eight-year-old self squealed with glee one fine summer day. I hopped onto it, wobbling along our gravel-and-tar road way out in the marsh countryside. I became a two-wheeled pro in a matter of days—no training wheels for this girl! Nope. One day, in my mother’s last month of pregnancy for my brother, I decided to show off my new-found talents. “Look, Mom. No hands!” I shouted.

“Get your hands back on those handlebars!” she snapped back at me. Nothing would deter me. After all, she couldn’t run after me to swat my backside.

“Look, Mom. No feet!” I yelled as I pedaled fast and stuck my feet out sideways.

“Charlaine, get your feet back on those pedals! Now!” Okay, so she sounded a bit more upset with me, but she didn’t make a move to get up from her lawn chair.

“Look, Mom! No hands and no feet!” I announced my most astonishing feat—that is until I hit a section of loose gravel near the stop sign at the corner of our yard. Suddenly, I skidded and landed hard. Somewhere in all of this, I barely remember hearing, “Charlaine! Stop showing off. You’re going to get hurt!” Well, she was right. Howling about the stinging pain I felt in my knee that hit the ground and the palms of my hands that tried to stop my fall, I saw blood gushing from what used to be a neatly sewn crease in my cute, yellow polyester knit pants. It was ripped open soaked with blood. I checked my hands to find a nasty road rash with bits of blood. I decided that my stunt riding days needed more work, but maybe they needed to stop like Mom told me.

She grabbed kitchen towels from inside our house, ordering me to hold them on my knee. She helped me into our old Bonneville sedan, then sped along to the emergency room in the nearest city.

The doctor looked at my knee. I winced and cried as he poked around my gaping wound on my knee. “It looks like we have to get those stones out, clean it up, then put stitches in it,” he stated thoughtfully. Hmm, what does this mean? I wondered. This was all new to me. Well, I found out I didn’t like it! He took large tweezers to pick out all of the stones. I tried to hold still as he asked me to do, but it was really hard. Unrolling the flap of skin that once set neatly over my knee cap was excruciating. I wasn’t prepared from him to lay it back and pour some antiseptic into the bloody mess. It put merthiolate to shame! I howled as he tried to assure me I would be okay. Then he numbed my knee to put eight neatly sewn stitches into the flap of skin and the flesh surrounding the wound. By the time I could go home, I felt pretty good. Until, of course, the anesthetic wore off. After a few weeks, it was as good as new. And no, I didn’t do my stunts anymore.

Digging In

Read: Ephesians 3:14-19

Focus Verse: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

  For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

The Ephesians’ church discovered their gaping wounds when they heard Paul preach the gospel. Paul addressed this church in today’s passage, which he started in the bustling pagan metropolis of the day, boasting around 250,000 people, second only to Rome’s population (Wikipedia). It was a strong church that went against the pagan worship of Artemis (Diana), among other Roman gods and goddesses. The people in that prosperous city were self-indulgent, living a lust-filled existence drunk with wine and reveling in all the sinful desires of their hearts. (NKJV Study Bible) When Paul brought the gospel to them, he revealed the truth of their lives: the sin they lived leads to death, but Jesus died on the cross for their sins and wanted them to have a new life like none other they had ever known. Just as the doctor cleaned out my gaping wound with a stinging antiseptic, the cleansing truth of the gospel must have been painful yet undeniably necessary. The healing power of Christ binds broken, hurting hearts to restore life to what God intended all along.  It became evident in their lives to Paul, but he knew it would be difficult for them living in a sin-saturated culture with which they were so familiar.

Paul prayed for their already strong faith to be strengthened more by the power of the Holy Spirit in their very hearts where Christ dwells. As a result of Christ residing, remaining in their hearts, they were rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. From this love and deep relationship with the Lord, they received an understanding beyond their comprehension coming from God, the Father. They received blessings that resulted from allowing Christ to dwell in their hearts. As a result of Paul’s ministry and their loyalty to Christ, this body of believers later became one of the seven churches of a large church council around 431 AD. (Wikipedia)

In our key verse, we learn that our bodies are a living sacrifice– that is, we yield ourselves for the Lord’s service. Because of this, we are called to honor God in all we do since Jesus bought us by His blood shed on the cross. We are no longer our own. This service isn’t forced, but one we freely choose to do out of gratitude for what Christ has done for us. We must give ourselves entirely to the Lord, sacrificing everything to live a life of service. It begins with our hearts.

What This Means for Us

As Christ-followers, we give our hearts to Jesus when we accept Him as Savior. And maybe for a while, we let Jesus into certain chambers of our hearts—the one’s we’ve tidied up. But, if we were honest with ourselves, letting Him come in to live is scary. We like to keep some of our sin issues hidden behind our kind smiles and “I’m fine” attitudes. It scares the wits out of us because that means unlocking the door of our hearts, opening the door wide for His goodness, and letting His light reveal what we’ve kept hidden for so long. 

It takes guts to let Him in. He will clear out the junk we’ve accumulated, showing us we need to pitch the idols we’ve set up. No spirituality, no status, no wealth, no perfectly-fit bodies of self-admiration, nothing else because it belongs to Him. We are embarrassed for Jesus to see what we’ve collected, so we often use excuses not to give Him a peek inside. But once we allow Him to do His incredible work, like the doctor cleaning and dressing my wound, we begin to feel a peace-filled joy that spills over into other people’s lives. He enables us to love because He is love. We no longer know about Him, but we genuinely know Him deeply–an intimate love relationship– something we’ve often longed for.

Just as the Tabernacle amid the Israelites’ camp was filled with God’s presence and Moses couldn’t go inside (see 5 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Move), it is vital we accept the Lord dwelling and reigning in our hearts.  Selfishness, nor any other idol we’ve set up can remain in God’s presence. He takes up all of this space in our hearts. Would you give your heart over to the Lord, opening the door wide for Jesus to come inside to live? I encourage you to commit your heart fully to the Lord today. You will never be sorry you did.

Prayer: I take the #COMMITYOURHEART Pledge, Lord, opening my heart up fully for you to come inside to live. Clear out anything that doesn’t belong and fill me with our Love. Dwell with me day by day. Help me to take care of this body you’ve given me so I may love my family more and gladly serve you in the community where I live. My life is yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

The #COMMITYOURHEART Movement was founded on this principle. It began a few years ago when the Lord prompted me to help churches and individuals try different ways to commit their hearts to the Lord, not only their spiritual hearts but also their physical and emotional hearts, building greater bonds with their families while wholeheartedly serving God in their communities.

Resources:

The NKJV Study Bible, notes on Ephesians 4:14-19. Copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Wikipedia, “Metropolis of Ephesus” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_of_Ephesus.

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