This week's guest contributor has chosen to remain anonymous.
Above my desk at work, I kept two questions posted: “Whither shall I go from thy
spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” This verse, Psalm 139:7 (King James),
reminded me that I was being observed. My watcher was neither my boss nor an
Orwellian “Big Brother.” My watcher was Almighty God, whom I worshipped and tried
to please. I did not resent being under surveillance because I knew that my observer
cared a great deal about me. Nothing and no one escapes his attention.
Earlier in the same Psalm, David wrote, “O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.” (Psalm 133:1, this and later biblical references are
from the New Living Translation, unless otherwise indicated.) Job called God “watcher of
all humanity” and marveled that God would pay attention to humans: “What are mere
mortals, that you should make so much of us? For you examine us every morning and
test us every moment.” (Job 7:17-18) Jeremiah repeats the words of the Lord when he
writes, “Am I a God who is only in one place? Do they think I cannot see what they are
doing? Can anyone hide from me? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?”
(Jeremiah 23:23-24) The letter to the Hebrews tells us, “Nothing in all creation can hide
from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we
must explain all we have done.” (Hebrews 4:13)
A few hundred years ago, theologians began to use terms like omniscience,
omnipresence, and omnipotence to capture the attributes of God. Still, I prefer the
language of David, Job, Jeremiah, and the author of Hebrews, because their words
personalize my relationship with my Creator. He knows me better than I know myself.
He is my shepherd and my judge at the same time.
Our Christian lives change as we become more and more attuned to what God
wants us to be. This is the ongoing process of sanctification, and the Holy Spirit points us
in the right direction. We often picture this as an ongoing walk or race. Some may call
it a journey or an odyssey, and refer to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress as Christian
makes his way to the Celestial City. In a general sense, we may speak of it as maturing or
growing in faith and holiness. Perhaps we conceive of sanctification as a graph with a
vertical axis showing degree of holiness and a horizontal axis representing time. We
hope to see a steadily rising line on the graph showing increasing holiness over time.
Still, we face many difficulties and often we stumble. The graph line is not always rising,
though it should be the general pattern.
We can also think of this sanctification set in the context of a house in which we
live and have Jesus Christ as our guest. Seventy years ago, Robert Boyd Munger, then a
pastor in Berkeley, California, wrote a pamphlet entitled “My Heart Christ’s Home.” He
begins the pamphlet by quoting Paul: “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources
he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will
be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.” (Ephesians 3:16-17) Let
us use Munger’s idea as a starting point for seeing Jesus Christ as someone who is in our
home at our invitation.
If Jesus Christ is a guest in my house, what would he think of it? A house has
many rooms, but would he feel at home in all of these rooms? The rooms reflect what I
value, what is on my mind, how I spend time, and how I spend money. Could
there be rooms that I would not really want Jesus to see? It might be just a closet. How
would I change my house if I knew that some things would not please my invited guest?
If you knew that Jesus was coming to stay as a permanent guest in your home,
what kind of housecleaning would you do? What kind of a host or hostess would you
In the ongoing process of sanctification, we desire more and more to please
Jesus. We grow in our consciousness that we cannot really hide anything from him, not
even in a locked closet. In several places in the Bible, we find the words, “The fear of the
Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The roots of this fear lie in our knowledge that we are
never going to get away with hiding something from God. Think of Achan’s disobedience
(Joshua 6:17-19); think of the dishonesty of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11); think of
21st century Christian leaders, whose sins have been exposed. Are you ready to begin
your housecleaning? Are you ready to be honest with your guest, Jesus Christ?
Lord Jesus Christ,
We know your last words to your disciples: “I am with you always, even to the
end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Lord Jesus, you are a guest in my heart, your home.
Yet I am a human, who often forgets that you are there and that you see and know all. I
fail to remember that I live in what you see as a glass house with glass walls, cabinets,
and containers. I forget that a house that is clean at one point in time will not
automatically stay clean. I remember Paul’s advice, “You should be looking at yourselves
to make sure that you are really Christ’s. … You ought to know by this time that Christ is
in you, unless you are not real Christians at all.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, J.B. Phillips) Help
me to make heart house inspection and housecleaning something that I do every day,
because you are my guest.