We’ve all heard the term ‘home is where the heart is’, but what about ‘home is in the heart’? The first term explains what ‘home’ is. It’s where we feel the most comfortable. It’s where we are welcomed and surrounded by those we love, whether they are biological relatives or spiritually related. It’s the place we long to be when we’re stuck at work on a terrible day when everything feels as if it’s going wrong.
Now, the second term. As those who are born-again, we know what it means when Lord Jesus says He stands at the door and knocks. If we open that door, we are welcoming Him into our hearts. By allowing Him to come in and rest His feet in our hearts, we are accepting our salvation and accepting Him into our lives. I mean, how many of us allow those we don’t like or don’t want to be around into our actual homes just to chat? Accepting Him into our hearts is us saying ‘Yes, I want to know you, Lord. Please, have a seat and let’s began to build a friendship’.
So, let’s rewind a little. Let’s go back to before you opened that door. Before you acknowledged Jesus’s knock upon the door of your heart — because He’s been standing there knocking since you were old enough to understand the Gospel — you’ve been throwing the wildest of parties in the home of your heart as far back as you could remember. The day you finally admit someone is knocking on the door all the party guests are long gone and your home is a complete and utter wreck. Chairs are overturn, all broken. Tables are missing legs. Streamers are all over the place. Confetti and glitter is in every crevasse they can find. Plastic cups, paper plates, party hats, and deflated balloons litter the floor. Pictures hang askew. Dishes are piled in the sink, mold growing on the food left clinging to them. The vacuum hasn’t met the carpet since you don’t know when. Something smells as if has died and is rotting. And when was the last time you scrubbed the tub and toilet?
Then you acknowledge the knocking at your door. As you approach it, you think ‘Surely, whoever it is will run as soon as they catch a glimpse of this mess. Surely, they’ll find an excuse to leave because of the smell’. You reach for the knob and hesitate, overwhelmed by shame. There’s no way this person will step foot through your door. They’ll just judge you on your awful, disgusting mess, curling their nose as they walk off. Who wants to know someone this filthy? And yet, when you finally open the door, Jesus enters anyways with a warm, loving smile on His face. You apologize for the mess, in tears because of the shame you feel. You’re head is bowed, staring at the floor because you can’t bear to see the disgust and revulsion on His face. Suddenly, you feel His hand rest kindly on your shoulder. When you have the strength to look up, all you see in His face is love and He says, ‘It’s okay. Thank you for letting me in’.
The beauty of it is that it doesn’t stop there. Before He even sits down to talk with you, He cleans the mess on the floor, throws away all the trash, vacuums, does the dishes, and cleans the bathroom. Even the fowl smell of something dead disappears. When He finally sits down to rest, He sits on the floor across from you. As you look around, you are overjoyed and in awe at having a clean place to call home. This is what it means to be saved, this is what it means to be washed clean.
For a while, you’ll enjoy it. You’ll enjoy every aspect of being surrounded by clean and beautiful things. Jesus watches you in delight, letting you enjoy what it feels like to be newly saved, to be free. There comes a day, though, when He calls you to sit with Him again on the floor. When you finally settle, ready for whatever lesson He is ready to teach today He askes you to look around and tell Him what you see. Immediately, you reply with gratefulness at the cleanliness of the home, thanking Him profusely for choosing to clean your home when He didn’t have to and you didn’t deserve it. He happily accepts your gratifications, but again askes what you see around you.
That’s when you remember the broken chairs, the tables that are missing legs, and the pictures hanging askew. When you acknowledge these verbally, He nods. This is what He wanted you to see. This is what He wants to teach you. Although you’ve been saved, there is still a lot of work to be done. The legs of the tables that are missing are no where to be found and the chairs are broken beyond repair. Meaning that replacing these things is going to take time. However, the pictures that are askew are an easy fix. The thing is, Jesus isn’t going to fix all these things by Himself. He could, but He knows if you two don’t do it together, you’ll allow such things to return as they currently are which defeats the purpose of fixing them in the first place. As the saying goes, ‘Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll be fed the rest of his life’.
Thus, you agree. But WAIT, there’s more! Jesus then leads you outside your home and shows you the other homes scattered around you. Some of the doors to these homes will never open. Behind some of them, more locks are being added. Yet, there are some that need a hand to help them open the door. The shame you felt before you initially reached for that knob is barring down on others and they have not the strength to follow through and turn that knob. However, if you enter their home as Jesus entered yours — without judgement, without repulse or disgust — you can share with them who Jesus is and how much He loves them.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”John 15:12
As we continue throughout our days, we will continue to grow in Christ as we dive further into Scripture and pray no matter the circumstances. There are days where we focus solely on working with the Lord to build a new table or chair to replace a broken one and, thus, create within us a godly habit that replaces a sinful one. There are days where we focus entirely on helping others with their messes or their shame, shining the loving light of Jesus on them all the while. And then there are days that we do both. This is what it means to be a maturing Christian. This is what it means to live out scripture.
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”1 Peter 1:22