The Worth of Christ's Indwelling

[Eph. 3:17]---'That Christ may dwell in your hearts.'

When Christ comes into a heart to dwell He does not come alone; He comes and brings with Him all those things that accompany salvation.

When Christ dwells in the human heart, He dwells there as a living power, moving, renewing, sanctifying, moulding us according to His own idea, working His own pleasure in us, making men faithful in their daily service, for labor, for suffering, for sorrow, for waiting, for whatever Providence may appoint. He dwells in the heart as a power fortifying against the temptations that beset men, the temptations to meanness, to untruthfulness, to selfishness; as a power subduing evil desires and propensities, calming all unholy thoughts and desires. Just as on that stormy night on the Sea of Galilee He said to the winds and waves, 'Peace be still,' so He calms distractions and tumults in the breast into which He enters. He is in us as a living power, strengthening us for the heavenly Father's will, forming in us a character of nobleness and truth, lifting up our life above its old levels, enabling us to fight the good fight of faith, making us more than conquerors through His own life. The Apostle Paul understood this matter when he said, ' I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' That is one thing that comes about when Christ abides by faith in a human heart; we find a new power within us against evil, and for truth and righteousness.

When Christ enters a human heart He brings His own love,and that, consciously received, produces a corresponding and answering love in our hearts to Him. Where Christ abides in a man's heart, love will be the very soil in which his life will be rooted and grow. That love will be the motive of all service, it will underlie as the productive cause of all fruitfulness. All goodness and all beauty will be its fruit. The whole life will be as a tree planted in this rich soil. And so the life will grow, not by effort only, but as by an inherent power drawing its nourishment from the soil. This is blessedness. It is heaven upon earth that love should be the soil in which our obedience is rooted, and from which we draw all the nutriment that turns to flowers and fruit. Where Christ dwells in the heart, love will be the foundation upon which our lives are built steadfast and sure. The blessed consciousness of His love, and the joyful answer of the heart to it may become the basis upon which the whole being shall repose, the underlying thought that gives security, serenity, stedfastness to an else fluctuating life.

For Paul, and should be for us, far above all other motives was his love to Christ. That was the root of his life, and the life of all his effort. It was a conscious, personal, realised devotion. It was too hallowed a feeling for him to speak much of. It colored and pervaded every thought; was an unceasing presence with him; lay at the foundation of every endeavor, and was brought to bear on every action in life, on every book he read, and almost every word he spoke.

Then again, when Christ enters a human heart to dwell there, He enters it and abides as an undying joy. No sooner does Christ enter than joy begins. His presence removes those old dreads and disquiettudes of conscience that were occasioned by the sense of guilt, and He sheds abroad within us a sense of reconcilment to God, and an assurance of the Almighty keeping that gladness. The joy is, to a very large extent, independent of temporal surroundings; it certainly does not need a man basking in the sunshine of worldly prosperity to find that Christ is joy to him. Outside there may be poverty, the chill east wind, the weary way of wilderness, a dull, gloomy sky, dislike, even contempt, from men; but within---if Christ rules within---there is a quiet gladness. For when Christ enters, He enters whose presence makes men glad, and with Him come in pure thoughts, high desires, regulations of holy life, a peace that in very deed passeth all understanding.

And it is a strange thing, too, that when Christ is in the heart, He somehow throws radiance over all that is round about us, He brings light and beauty and gladness. We all know that we make the world in which we dwell. Suppose a man goes out to business in the morning, full of hope, and comes back a few hours later disappointed; what a gloom rests on all around him. And yet the outward scene is the same in the coming back as in the going away; the difference is in us, the lowliest earthly dwelling becomes a kind of waiting-room to the palace of glory. Sorrow is transfigured to the heart that holds Him in it. The bounties of Providence all come to us with sweeter relish; the commonest cup of earthly comfort has a truly celestial flavor in it; the most ordinary sights, that seem commonplace or even worn out, are invested with a new charm; the starry magificence of night has a loftier and calmer grandeur about it; and the very heavens seem to bend more shelteringly and more graciously over us.

The experience of one who has his heart dwelling with Christ will be rich with jubilant music. The life which our Lord communicates is His own exalted life: and that is in its essence ' love, joy, empire, victory.' Christianity has been named the Religion of Sorrow; but there never was a more complete misnomer. It is not the religion of sorrow, but the religion which, because it is inspired by One who lives and was dead, gives the victory over every sorrow, even the crowning sorrows of death and sin. There is not in the New Testament from beginning to end, in the record of the original and genuine Christian life, a single word of despondency or gloom. It is the most buoyant, exhilarating, and joyful book in the world.

In Christ, timothy. Maranatha

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