Summary: Through faith in Christ, we are God’s children and members of his household.
The other day I was playing with my sons. We were building a house out of blocks. Up and up the structure went until it would reach a certain point, and, then it toppled over. So we’d start over. Higher and higher the blocks would go until they fell over. This happened a couple of times and finally, Joshua, our oldest, said, “I’m sure glad nobody lives in our house.”
It got me to thinking about our dwelling place as Christians. I’m not referring to our church or any other physical structure. I’m talking about the place we dwell as God’s children through faith; the spiritual house of God. I’d like to consider that thought this morning: WE DWELL IN GOD’S HOUSE 1) Even if our hearts try to evict us, and because 2) It’s Where His Heart Is.
Home Sweet Home. There’s no other place like it, right? What is it that makes a house a “home”? If a guest were to stay at your home, I’m sure he’d find all sorts of proof that it is your place. There’d be the pictures of family and other knick-knacks. You might have some mail lying on the counter addressed to you. And the most obvious – you might have your last name either mounted on some sort of plaque outside the front door, or labeled on the mailbox.
There are certain curios that make God’s house unique and distinguished. St. John explains: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”
There is a certain ornament or heirloom that is unique to God’s house. It is love shown in actions and truth. God’s children don’t give lip service to the idea of love, but they put some feet on their words. It is important that what we say reflects the love of Christ. That’s because words can be deceptive, even empty. Actions are always direct and truthful. To say, “I love you”, can be a hollow statement, especially if one’s actions are contrary to the statement. To say, “I love you” and to follow it with a kiss, or to say, “I love you” and back it up with a deed of kindness, this is truthful. There is no potential for falsehood then. It is to be even more so in our Christian lives. For a Christian to say, “I love you”, means those words will be backed up with appropriate actions. It means we offer encouragement, instruction, admonition, charity, or prayer.
If someone were always criticizing, gossiping, or backbiting, would you consider that person to be very loving? I don’t think so. If we say that we care about each other and then do nothing to help in time of need, what does that make us out to be? It makes us liars. You don’t need me to tell you this. Our own hearts convict us of this truth.
We might try to deny the whole matter, though, and pass the blame onto others. We like to turn the tables and say such things as, “Well, if people were nicer to me, maybe I’d be kind to them.” To say such a thing is to be nothing more than a liar. If we tie conditions to our love and kindness, making it dependant on the action of others – “I’ll love if you love me” – then we might as well take Christ himself, stuff him in an old storage trunk and pack him away in mothballs.
What we’re saying is that we don’t need Christ or appreciate all he’s done for us. We turn God’s good home of faith and love into a slum and his children into beggars. We take his tokens of love and charity and plaster them with the trash of selfishness, greed, and arrogance.
We all know that we have hated rather than shown compassion. We’ve gotten frustrated rather than demonstrated patience. We’ve been cold and calloused towards one another when God calls us to be gentle and kind. And our own hearts try to evict us. We become plagued with guilt. We begin to think that we really don’t belong in God’s family. And so we’re tempted to just up and leave before we get thrown out.
It’s true. Our hearts do condemn us. We fall short in so many things. We don’t always love as God’s children. We might feel like homeless beggars who don’t deserve God’s blessing or the company of fellow Christians. When guilt wells up in your soul and your heart threatens to evict you from God’s family, then remember this blessed truth: “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” God is bigger than our hearts or anyone else that might condemn us. God assures us that wherever we have fallen behind in love, out of weakness, our faults and failures are covered up with the warm blanket of Christ’s righteousness.