Dear Pilgrim, does Christ dwell in your heart through faith? Are you asking Him to strengthen you out of His glorious riches with power through His Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith (Eph 3:17)? I ask that He will do this for you and for me, Pilgrim friend, for we need Him there as we walk this pilgrim path!
You may be thinking to yourself how can Christ dwell in my heart, when the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9)? How can Christ dwell in my heart, when out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander (Matt 15:19)? Maybe you are thinking, as I did for so many years, that you will not be blessed by seeing God for your heart is not pure (Mt 5:8). If so, the cry of your heart is the cry of the Pilgrim throughout the ages: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Ps 51:10)!
Oh Pilgrim, lift your head! Come, lift your eyes to the hills, to the mountains, from where our help comes, and come with me to the Word. What does He say?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Do you see, Pilgrim? That deceitful, wicked heart – He has removed it! The heart out of which come evil thoughts – He has removed it and given us a new heart! To those who hear the Word of Christ and respond by believing the gospel - the glorious gospel news that whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us, being delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification - He purifies their heart by faith (Acts 15:9)! A new heart! Blessed be His Name!
Oh, but there is more, Pilgrim. Not only does He purify our hearts – He blesses those with a pure heart that they may see God. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Cor 4:6). The glory of God! Oh, Pilgrim, have you seen this? Have you been emboldened as was Moses to ask of Him "Show me Your glory?" Pilgrim, this is a request He will honour...and when He does...you will be undone. When His light shines in your heart to give you the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ...you will not be able to stand in His presence. Glory! Bow down! Oh, Lord, it is overwhelming….
But Pilgrim, there is still more. For He writes His law on our hearts (Jer 31:33). Not just in our minds, bringing an intellectual assent – no, He writes on the fleshly tablets of our human hearts. His finger writes not with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3). Pilgrim, this is a fiery work, painful – as He writes, you will undergo a baptism of fire. For those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:24).
Pilgrim, dare you believe me when I say there is yet more? Remember we are feasting in the abundance of the house of the Lord! For He has anointed us! He has set His seal of ownership upon us (2 Cor 1:21-22)! He has adopted us as sons! And because we are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’ (Gal 4:6). The Spirit is calling out! The Spirit is one who testifies, He cannot stay silent! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Rom 8:16). And the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father will testify of Jesus (John 15:26). He will glorify Jesus as He takes what is His, what is His Father’s, and declares it to us (John 16:14-15). Those of us who believe in the Son of God have this testimony in us (1 John 5:10)! Oh Pilgrim, this is not the testimony of any man - this is the testimony of God Himself concerning His Son! And this testimony is in us! In us - us who could only bring to Him our wicked, deceitful hearts....and He gives us a new heart into which He sends the Spirit of His Son calling out 'Abba, Father', testifying of Jesus, declaring to us all that is His. What a truth. What a glorious truth. The riches of our inheritance! Can you believe this? It is true! The hope of glory!
Oh, Pilgrim, when there is such a bounteous feast of abundance here, how can we respond in any way other than walking by the Spirit, that we may not grieve Him? How can we respond in any way other than by daily crucifying the flesh, and boasting in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to us, and us to the world (Gal 6:14)? Oh, Pilgrim, let us encourage one another to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord! And as we continue on our path, we have this hope - that we will see God revealed in all His Glory on that day when He returns! And as we await our blessed hope, let us walk with Him on the road to Emmaus, and may our hearts burn within us as He talks with us and opens the Scriptures for us!
And this is how we know that He lives in us:
we know it by the Spirit He gave us.
(1 John 3:24)