He Dwells In Our Hearts By Faith

1980

Recently, I was struck by the phrase, “He dwells in our hearts by faith.” And the way Paul wrote about it was like this:

“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” (Eph. 3:16-17).

It is our faith that allows Christ to dwell richly and in a real way in our hearts. By faith—not by knowing the right things, being in the “right” place, having an event to busy myself with, or striving to feel good about myself. And glory to God, it isn’t a head game or a “wishing” it were so. God in Christ actually finds a place to rest and move and express Himself to us and express His life and liberty to others, as we place our faith in Him. There is no other way to have peace. There is no other way to be in the middle of His will for any given hour. There is no other way to hear and respond to His leadings, other than by placing our faith in God’s Son, Jesus. He is the focus and the goal where all of our energy and trust is to rest. He dwells and lives and breathes and finds His expression in our hearts through the faith that we have in Him. Through faith in Him. Not through getting our circumstances lined up in such a way to alleviate some sort of tension or difficulty (whether real or imagined). “If everything were quiet and orderly, THEN I could be at peace with God.” “If only I knew what I should do, THEN I could get on with my Christian life.” “If only things were easier to deal with THEN I could really be free to love God.” “If only... if only...” Take those words as a tip-off that you might be in a circular trap that will hinder your growth and actually oppose the active faith in Jesus that pleases God! They are lies and worldly thinking that are of the devil. I’m not saying I’ve not been guilty of thinking like that, but I’m coming to see it more clearly as a very poor and disobedient way to build in Christ, whether personally or with others. It’s easy to be guilty of trying to build with God by external means. “If I read the Bible more, THEN...” “If I had more time with certain adults, THEN I could...”

Rather than the “fix-its” we mistakenly desire, God’s thought instead is that we would believe Him in regard to who His Son is to be in our lives. And not a “barely holding on” kind of faith, but an overcoming, ever-increasing, active faith in Jesus, the One God sent. This is how He dwells and lives in our hearts with power in our inner man—by Faith! Not by “pleasant” circumstances. Not by comfortable relationships. Not by having my peaceful times. No. It is BY FAITH that He can express Himself and live His life out through each of us. Believing that He is who He said He is. Sent from God; Lived in a Holy reverence and responsiveness and Love for His Father; Walked His life here sacrificially, putting others always before His own needs; Stuck by God and with God all the way to the very end without wavering or giving up or being selfish, to the very end when He finally was killed by hateful people. And then God raised Him in His body, flesh, mind, spirit and All, from the dead. He came up out of death, and God gloriously lifted Him to the heights of heaven and all authority, power, love, grace and Lordship were bestowed on Him forevermore. This is the One we believe. This is the One we trust. Let’s not hold back!

I exhort myself and whoever would listen to lift up our heads to our glorious God in heaven who is continually shining His life and love down upon us. Continually giving us opportunity upon opportunity to find Him and know Him in a special way in the “little” things in our lives. A sad look in a sister’s face that we would do well to stop and care about. Appreciating lovely children being children. A crossroads decision to deny myself and love someone who impinged on my so-called “rights.” Those painful moments when you should really just keep your mouth shut and reject selfishness. Lift up my head to see the One who went before us and who has provided every single need that I have. Let us trust Him and trust Him and trust Him that He will take care of us. We must determine diligently to trust in Him and love His ways no matter how much it hurts. Not back off or zone out or be shallow. Let’s go all the way? What have we got to lose? Nothing! His promise to us is that He would dwell in our hearts THROUGH FAITH!!

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