Ephesians 3:14-19. 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
The greatest, most important thing that we can pray for as those who are united to Christ is to have an experience of Christ. The experience of Christ dwelling in our hearts.
But doesn’t Jesus already live in my heart?
Yes. Yes, he does. The word Paul uses here, “dwell,” means to settle down. To make yourself at home. Jesus has already moved in, but has he unpacked his suitcase into the dresser? Can he go to the fridge without asking? Can he control the TV remote? Has he been in the basement?
Paul is praying that these saints would have this kind of intimate experience of the indwelling Christ. He is praying a spiritual experience found only in our union with Christ.
Christian, there is no spiritual experience apart from an experience of the indwelling Christ.
And the indwelling Christ is the Christ who suffered and died, and then, only after suffering, did he rise to glory.
We need to stop looking for spiritual experiences that have nothing to do with the man Christ Jesus. We need to stop seeking spiritual experiences that are completely disconnected from suffering. Do you expect the Spirit to help you overcome addictions and temptations without any connection to the suffering of Christ that is required? Do you want the Spirit to fill you with strength that is separate from faith in, and dependence upon, an indwelling man of sorrows acquainted with grief? In short, do you want a Christianity that is a Christ-less Christianity.
And remember, Christ dwelling in our hearts is an inside-out experience, not an outside-in experience. It is strength in the inner man.
We pray for strength to overcome. Strength to withstand the burden. Strength to walk through the illness or the loss. Strength to resist. But are we asking for a power that works from the outside-in rather than the inside-out?
But the true strength of the Spirit comes from finding the weakness and dependency of Jesus. But wait isn’t it dependency when we pray for our burdens to go away? Aren’t we dependent on the Spirit when we ask for his help? Not when we are asking the Spirit to increase our own personal strength to “power through” our hardships.
True spiritual dependency is dependence on the work of Christ on the cross alone on our behalf. There’s a huge difference. One is asking the Spirit to build YOU up. The other is asking the Spirit to tear you down, letting you remain weak so that the powerful grace of Christ can be revealed.
“To live is Christ” means you have all of Christ. But you may not be experiencing all of Christ all of the time (in fact most likely you’re not). But that is our prayer. A prayer for the Spirit to give us strength in the inner man as we allow Christ to make himself at home in our hearts. Jesus, make yourself at home in us.
Does Christ dwell in your heart? Has he settled down there?
You in Christ
Is there something you could do daily to know the love of Christ more and more?
Christ in you
Is it OK for you to not be OK, knowing that Christ will be revealed in your weakness?
Playlist: Christ In Our Hearts.
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