In his Confessions, Augustine asks,
“What place is there within me where my God can come? How can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? O Lord my God, is there anything in me that can contain you?
… Too narrow is the house of my soul for you to enter into it: let it be enlarged by you. It lies in ruins; build it up again. I confess and I know that it contains things that offend your eyes. Yet who will cleanse it?”
In his letter to the Ephesian church, (which pre-dates Augustine) Paul has already provided an answer:
I pray that out of God’s 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.
Or as another translation puts it: “that Christ may settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith.” It reminds me of how The Message translates John 1: 14:
The Word (Jesus) became flesh and blood, and moved into our neighbourhood.
There is a remarkable familiarity that Jesus promises when he assures his obeying followers, “my Father will love you and we will make our home with you.” Of course this is what we can expect from a person who’s nick name, “Immanuel“, means “God with us.”
It is by his initiative that He comes near to be with us. He says,
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with him, and he with me.
The spiritual life then is the friendship of letting Jesus into every room our “house” to make it the home He and we were meant to live.
With this in mind (and with apologies to Joyce Meyer), here is a piece based on an article titled, “Letting God into Every Room of your heart“:
Your Mind. What do you think about; what occupies the bulk of your contemplations? The more you think of something, the more it becomes a part of you. In fact, your thoughts set the course for your life. Therefore let us focus on what is noble, pure, trustworthy, admirable…(Philippians 4:8). As you let Jesus into every room of your heart, you will find you are becoming free to choose what you think about – to chose what is life giving.
The Dining Room:
What you feed your desires. John Eldredge writes,
This may come as a surprise to you: Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person… at its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.
As we grow spiritually, we may come to the point where we echo the Psalmist who says, “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” – these desires of the heart being the very delight found in the Lord.
The Living Room:
Your Friendships. What do you talk about when you’re with your friends – the people you spend your time with and those you open your heart to. May you develop the companionship of people who are wanting to learn to love what and how God loves. May you learn the secret of encouragement and spiritual entanglement.
Your need for rest and intimacy. The One who created us is the One in whom we can find true rest and true intimacy. How might you adopt His mind in the most intimate place in your house? Tolstoy wrote, “Man survives earthquakes, epidemics, the horrors of disease, and agonies of the soul, but all the time his most tormenting tragedy has been, is, and will always be, the tragedy of the bedroom.” Whatever goes on there is of great compassion to the One whom made you for Himself.
Your Legacy is the good fruit of a life well-lived – a life of growing excellence and integrity. Your work should be “creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and as creatures, made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.” (Dorothy Sayers, “Why Work“). How might you let Jesus speak into your work?
The Recreation Room:
Your Entertainment. How do you let God influence the movies you watch, the music you listen to, the things you read, or the activities you play? Imagine Jesus entering into every part of your life including the playful parts where time can be measured by the metric of joy. Listen to what to listen for, and what to eventually silence. Be gracious with yourself as you let Jesus reclaim the space filled with social noise.
The Closet, Attic, or Basement:
Hidden Things. This is where we hide what we don’t think we’ll use again, or don’t want others to see. Imagine you and Jesus sorting out all the hidden things, the useless grudges, the shameful pieces, the time-fillers and space-wasters that you can finally let go of along with their emotional costs. What freedom might you feel as you do this together with Jesus?
Only with God’s Help:
“Jesus is a divine guest inside of you all the time – one who loves, understands, sees and hears you. He wants to live in oneness with you… to be the thread that runs through everything you do. But, ultimately, the choice is up to you. Will you make Him welcome in every room of your house?”
This is highly edited from Joyce Meyer’s article, “Letting God into Every Room of your heart.” She based this on the original 1951 piece, “My Heart…Christ’s Home“, by Robert Boyd Munger.
In response to Augustine’s ancient confession above, we pray:
Here is the place within me where You can come. Come into me, God who made heaven and earth – come into the space that cannot contain You,
Let the house of my soul be enlarged by You.
Too narrow is the house of my soul for You to enter into it – so let it be enlarged by You. It lies in ruins; build it up again. I confess and I know that it contains things that offend You – come and cleanse it,
Let the house of my soul be cleansed by You.
I receive you with the grace You have given; let us befriend and restore my heart made by You, and for You, and in Your good pleasure,
Let the house of my soul be restored by You.