Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 5, 2011

Preparing My Heart for Christmas

One of the sweetest promises in Scripture is found in John 14:23. Jesus answered one of His disciples: “‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'” What more could any child of God desire than for the Lord Himself to make His home with him or her?

Home! The dictionary includes the following definitions for the word home: a shelter, dwelling place, or retreat; a place where one’s affections are centered; a place where one is most familiar or at ease. Definitions also include the thought of being deep, or close to the heart. What do you think of when you think of home? What images come to your mind? What feelings do you experience?

One of my sweetest memories of my home as a child was supper time. Mama would always have a good supper ready and my sister and I would eagerly wait for Daddy to come home from work. We would gather around the table, say a simple blessing, and enjoy not only the food but each other. Everyone at the table was welcome to talk about their day. It really didn’t matter what we ate or the stories we shared, but I remember how good it felt to just be home!

I wonder if that’s how God feels when He comes to make His home with me. Does He really feel at home in my heart? When He starts to enter, does He see me ready and waiting? Do I invite Him in and welcome Him eagerly? Am I interested in the things He has to say? Does He feel at home with me, or is my heart so far away from His heart that we really don’t have a lot in common?

God’s Word assures believers that they are God’s dwelling place. Paul reminded the Corinthians: “As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people'” (2 Corinthians 6:16b). Yet Paul also recognized the battle that believers have with sin. “For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:22-24a)

The believer is essentially torn between following God and obeying His Word or following his own sinful nature and doing those things that are contrary to God’s Word. How a believer chooses to respond to this dilemma will determine not only his ultimate victory or defeat, but also the closeness or distance he feels in his relationship with God. As James questioned: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (see James 4:4). He continued: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8).

As sweet as my memories of my childhood home may be, I also remember times when I chose to be disobedient and had to deal with the consequences of my disobedience. As I think about those times now, I realize that oftentimes what hurt more than the actual discipline was the distance I felt from my parents. Disobedience drove a wedge in our relationship. In the same way, when I choose to follow my sinful nature and be disobedient to God, I drive a wedge in my relationship with Him, for “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” God cannot feel at home in my heart when I choose to live in disobedience.

What better time than now, as we prepare for Christmas, to also prepare our hearts? God’s Word assures us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Then as we draw near to Him, He promises to draw near to us. I can remember how good it felt as a child when my damaged relationship with my parents was mended. I was forgiven and restored! Home felt right again. Let’s get busy and prepare our hearts for Christmas so that this year, Christ will really feel at home!

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