John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
What a wonderful promise! All we have to do is to show our love for Jesus by obedience to His teaching and He will come and be a part of our family. He’ll move in and live with us. His rules become your house rules rather than what the world passes off for morality. Fear of God replaces fear of man. The home truly becomes a place of refuge, rest and restoration. Many ache for that in a world filled with trouble even for Christians. So easy to want – to have God making His home with us, yet so hard to live it out! In the good times when life is great we forget about God and in the hard times when tragedy or disappointment happens we wonder ‘God – where are you?
Why is this happening!’ Both reactions – forgetting about God when everything is going right and being angry with God, maybe even blaming Him when things go wrong – are immature. Life has taught us that good and bad happens and we all get a share of both. Often we think not enough of the former and too much of the latter. And this is a result of not living with God! What do I mean by that? Well, people tend to visit God – once a week, every Sunday. Then they go home and live their regular lives until next Sunday.
We bring our children to church to visit God and learn about Jesus for an hour hoping that ‘it’ will take and overcome the hundreds of hours of TV, video gaming and the general Godlessness of our culture. That’s plain crazy! Religious people will tell you that the House of God is their particular church down the street. They will go and visit God once a week for an hour (and no more than an hour). If they are especially pious they will come to midweek and read His Word. And sadly for some, that is where His rule starts and ends – in His house not theirs. I know this because for many years I was such a person.
Religion can promote the opposite of faith by keeping God at a distance in His house far away from daily life. It’s OK to visit every Sunday but don’t bring Him home with you. If you absolutely have to be seen with Him during the week make sure you go to the ‘mid-week’. We need Jesus in our lives and the lives of our children 24/7. That means bringing God home with us after church is not an option. Bringing God with us to Church isn’t an option. I mean living with God and being under His rule 24/7 is not an option it is a necessity!
Two questions come up – How do you do that? And will it be hard? I’ll deal with the second question first. Yes it’s hard! It isn’t easy to live with God 24/7. Any married person will tell you (after the honeymoon is over) that it isn’t always easy to live with your spouse – 24/7. Trouble happens, personalities and priorities clash and peace has to be made – sometimes over generous helpings of humble pie! And any married person will tell you that the rewards of persevering, struggling and getting to know your spouse is well worth it. A good marriage is a blessing and they don’t just happen! You could never achieve it just by visiting your spouse once a week for an hour!
Why do we think that we can have an intimate rewarding relationship with Jesus Christ on the basis of one hour per week? God, like your spouse, demands commitment in order for you to have an intimate relationship with Him. Anything less is casual relationship and not a relationship at all. To the men out there who are husbands – what happens when we ignore our wives, when we don’t pay attention to them? They get mad! Nobody likes to be taken for granted!
Any wise husband fears his wife’s anger – not because of what his wife can do to him but because of what’s happening to their relationship!!!! We like to act so tough – I’m not afraid of anyone or anything – I’m a tough guy! The reality is I’m afraid of my wife’s anger BECAUSE IT TELLS ME THAT I AM HURTING OR HAVE HURT OUR RELATIONSHIP!!!! Scripture says; “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.” (Proverb 9:10,11) This is what God says; “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
And now we come to the question – How do we bring God home with us and live with Him 24/7? Again scripture gives us the answers; “You that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. The LORD has been mindful of us: he will bless us . . . “ (Psalm 115:11,12) Get to know God – don’t ignore Him; read His Word – daily, memorize scripture, pray, follow His teachings and when you fall short – repent, give testimony and praise for what He has done and is doing in your life. These things aren’t hard when you get into the good habit of doing them by practicing. Getting into the habit is the hard part especially as you tackle whatever unhealthy or bad habits are getting in the way. Remember, Jesus is patient and willing to help as long as you are willing to go the distance with Him. In all of this we have a helper that Jesus promised us; “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26) The Holy Spirit will work with you to clean up your life bit by bit!
And if you fail and mess up the Holy Spirit will help you be convicted of your sin and clean up the mess if you repent of it. King David, who after he really messed up by having another man killed and taking his wife for himself repented and called out to God; “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:10,11) This was the cry of a man who truly feared God because he had hurt his relationship with Him. This was the cry of a man who valued intimacy with God before all else. This is the beginning, the middle and the culmination of holiness. Next you must practice trusting in God. That is the hardest part. Scripture tells us; “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7) Praise the Lord!
That reads so well, sound so beautiful and IS SO TRUE. But as you’re arguing with your spouse over finances, ordering your kids not to do the very things you did when you were their age, or dealing with a terrible illness in you or a loved one – do you trust. Or if we’re struggling with a combination of some or all of these troubles; do we remember the name of the LORD our God? Does He become our Help and Shield? Do we stand on the promises of God? Scripture tells us; “For every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in Him. Therefore, the “Amen” is also spoken through Him by us for God’s glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) And His name is Jesus and this is His promise; “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) Is this what you ultimately trust in for yourself? For your children? Do you speak this word into your life situation? Do you speak this word into your children?
A few years ago my daughter Rachel was looking for work and she couldn’t get any. She was getting pretty discouraged and my heart ached for her as she struggled through this trial. My wife and I prayed for her and we tried to help out as much we could but the trial was Rachel’s we couldn’t live it out for her. It wasn’t our resources that got Rachel through (and us). Rather it was His promise. I would often speak it into Rachel and into her situation – God has a job for you and He will see you through your troubles. I said to her; “Keep on and have faith God has something wonderful planned for you.” Although I couldn’t see what the future held for Rachel I knew God would come through for her. And He did – big time – in all the areas Rachel thought she was missing out on. Praise the Lord!
To conclude – I’ve got more good news for you. If you can’t manage to bring Jesus home with you from church; if he isn’t in your home now and you don’t think He is likely to be but you think you might want Him to come home with you – HE KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE! He even knows what kind of mess your house is in. He doesn’t mind. He wants to come in anyway; “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
As you leave today, Jesus is going to follow you home. Even if you manage to get your car out of the parking lot before Jesus can get in, He’ll just run along behind. If you look in your rear-view mirror you may catch a glimpse of Jesus jogging along. He’ll be knocking at your door. He’ll be knocking at your door 24/7. He won’t come in until you open that door – so why don’t you! Couldn’t you use a friend and King like Jesus – I do!