I have been greeted nearly every morning this summer with the sounds of saws and hammers from the house next door. They are having their kitchen remodeled; actually, they are having their first floor remodeled. They are opening walls and replacing windows, installing cabinets and laying new flooring. They are making their house their home. I can appreciate what they are doing, even if I cannot identify with what they are doing. As an apartment dweller all my adult life, I don’t have the ability to remodel or redesign my living space. I am at the mercy of the homeowner.
There are differences between owning and renting. Owners gain equity (as the property increases in value, the owner reaps the benefit) but also bear the responsibility of maintenance (if something breaks, the owner bears the burden of fixing it). Owners can alter the floor plan, expand the deck or renovate the basement. Renters simply borrow the space they occupy and, if dissatisfied, move onto another property. Renters can hang pictures and curtains but cannot get cable installed without the owner’s permission. Renters, though, don’t worry about paying the plumber when a drain pipe bursts or the water heater leaks.
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. Ephesians 3:16–17a
The Apostle Paul tells us of an awesome and wonderful promise: that Christ may dwell in our hearts. Can you imagine Christ ‘taking up residence’ within the core of your being? Before you answer that, consider whether you’d like “renter Jesus” or “owner Jesus” to move in. As I stated above, there are some major differences whether you’d allow Jesus to occupy space or take over the property.
If Jesus were to simply rent space in our heart, I can imagine a conversation. Jesus: “Hey, now that I’ve moved in, I was thinking we could remodel the kitchen to produce a better traffic pattern. That way we could offer a bit more hospitality, which is, frankly, lacking right now.” Me: “Yeah, I don’t think I want to do that right now. I think I’d like to buy a bigger TV instead. Want to go with me to Best Buy?” Jesus: “Also, the bathtub is leaking, but I will fix it.” Me: “No, I will do it myself. I think I have some duct tape somewhere.”
If Jesus were the owner and occupier of my heart, a different conversation would take place. Jesus: “I am remodeling the kitchen so that we can entertain more.” Me: “Great. Need a hand?” Jesus: “No. Also, I want you to know that some places are showing wear and tear. I am going to restore and repair everything.” Me: “Okay. You are the owner: do whatever you have to do to be comfortable here.” Jesus: “I will. That way you can be comfortable, too.” Me: “Thanks. Mind if I grab a bite to eat?”
I don’t want Christ to simply occupy space in my life. I want His name to be on the deed. I don’t have the financial or spiritual resources sufficient to maintain my inner being. I need my savior to take over the residence and make it His own. And I will reap the benefits of the reconstruction He enables to take place. What about you? Are you willing to let Jesus rent space in your heart or will He repossess it?