“Do you understand what it means for Christ to dwell in your hearts through faith? Do you have a clue? When Monday morning rolls around, do you, as a believer, have that high view of salvation? Do you understand the fullness of God’s riches that are within you? Have you learned how to tap into the Resource in your inner man and allow Jesus to be Jesus in you? The Christian life is not trying to live like Jesus. The Christian life is allowing Jesus to live like Jesus in your thoughts, words, emotions, actions, and choices. As we continue to study Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3, perhaps the lights will come on to reveal the normal Christian life. Anything more, or anything less than Jesus being Jesus in a believer is sub-normal Christian life. There is nothing more, nothing less.”
Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers would be strengthened in the inner man. The result of being strengthened is Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. The word “dwell” is not referring to a salvation experience, but rather that Christ would be at home and comfortable in our hearts, abiding in us. If you are a believer, Christ has set up permanent residence in your heart. Are you accommodating Him? Does He feel at home in each and every room of your heart?
The word “heart” refers to the inner man where Christ comes to live, the center core of who we are, our heart. “Christ wants to live comfortable in the house of our heart.” The implication of verses 16-17 is that “if you’re not being strengthened with power in the inner man by the Spirit of God, this is a clear indication that you are not allowing Christ to be at home in your heart.” Dad goes on to describe five areas of our hearts that each qualify as a room which accommodate the Lord Jesus.
The first area is the Room of our Thoughts. Jesus knows our thoughts before we even think them! Where are you in your thought life? Is Christ welcome there? Paul encourages us to take every thought “captive” that attempts to raise itself above the knowledge of God. “The Word of God is key in the process of taking every thought captive. Your thought life can clog up the whole process of God working in your life. You entertain thoughts that are not welcome to the Christ in you. The Word of God is like the plumber. He unclogs the plumbing in our thoughts. The truth of God’s wisdom establishes the boundaries for appropriate and acceptable thoughts that welcome Christ into our mind. When we finally go to the cross, humbly bow and allow God’s Word into our thought life, change will come, eternal change.”
The second area is the Room of our Attitudes. “A hard heart inside exhibits a hard attitude outside.” Attitudes directly affect our relationships. “Christ dwelling in your heart will cause every relationship to be different and take on a new dimension.” Attitudes and forgiveness flow hand in hand (Matthew 18). Hardness of heart leads to hardness in relationships. If Christ is not dwelling at home in your attitudes, you will be a bitter and unforgiving person. “When you accommodate Jesus in your life, then you begin to experience His power to do what you could never do and can never do, apart from His strength.”
The third area is the Room of our Emotions. Our emotions are directly connected to our heart. In John 14:1, Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled..” “The word “troubled” has the idea of being anxious, fearful, or having a sense of dread. It is impossible to live in fear and faith at the same time.” Jesus tells us to not be anxious about our lives. When we allow fear to control us, we are not accommodating Jesus in our hearts! He can calm our anxious hearts when we cry out to Him. “We must be conquered by Christ before He can conquer our emotions. When we allow circumstances to overpower our emotions, our troubled heart spills into our families.” Being overwhelmed by our emotions should signal us that we are trying to live independently of the Christ Who dwells in the inner man. The next time this happens to you, “confess it as sin and your troubled heart will be conquered as Christ conquers you.”
The fourth area is the Room of Secrets. “Is there a room of secrets in your heart? A room in which you will not allow Jesus to dwell? DO you stuff things in closets or hide things under the bed? Holding on to secrets is not putting out the welcome mat for the Lord Jesus.” Don’t lock Jesus out of rooms in your heart, He already knows what’s in there. “To be strengthened with power and might in the inner man means you are dealing daily with sin. You are opening every room of your life, giving the Lord Jesus free access to the whole house. No secret rooms. Sin decreases as the Holy Spirit of God increases in your daily life, and walks throughout all the rooms of your heart.”
The fifth area is the Room of our Choices. “All of us have a choice to obey or disobey.” Obedience comes from the heart! To obey from the heart is a conscious choice. “Obedience is outward evidence that I am being strengthened in the inner man by the Spirit who dwells within.” Do you allow Jesus in the room of your choices? Are you accommodating Him with right choices?
We all need to examine the rooms in our hearts. Are we allowing the Lord Jesus free access to every room: thoughts, attitudes, emotions, secrets, and choices? “Until you choose to be strengthened with divine power in the inner man through the Spirit, Jesus may be in your life my friend, but you are not allowing Him to dwell in all the rooms of your house.”
Chapter 3: Daily Reflections
Day One: The Room of our Thoughts
- Read Luke 9:46-48. What does verse 47 specifically say Jesus knew?
- Read John 15:7. What is to abide (remain) in us? How does this relate to Colossians 3:16?
- Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. How does taking every thought captive accommodate Jesus in the room of your thoughts?
Day Two: The Room of our Attitudes
- Read Matthew 18:21-35. What type of attitude did the slave have that demonstrated a lack of forgiveness and rebellion toward God? Where does forgiveness start according to verse 35?
- Read Philippians 2:3-8. What attitude are we to have?
- Read Philippians 2:14-16. What does a Christ like attitude prove you to be?
Day Three: The Room of our Emotions
- Read Matthew 6:25-34. What do you learn about anxiety and God‘s care for us in these verses?
- Read Philippians 4:6-8. What does this passage instruct us to do with our anxiety? How does this relate to Day One’s reflections on our thoughts?
- Read Psalm 94:18-19. What does God’s Word (His consolations) have the power to do?
Day Four: The Room of Secrets
- Read Psalm 139. List everything this passage states that God specifically knows.
- Read Hebrews 4:13. What do you learn from this verse and how does it relate to Psalm 139?
- Read Jeremiah 23:24. What use is there to try and keep secrets from God?
Day Five: The Room of our Choices
- Read Galatians 6:7-8. What choice are we offered in these verses?
- Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20. What does Moses beg the people to do? What does he specifically tell the people to do in verse 20?
- What are three ways mentioned in verse 20 that we can accommodate Christ?
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes or cited from an author, are direct quotes by Wayne A. Barber from the book, "The Surrendered Life."