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Monday, June 12, 2017

Eviction notice posted

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 
What or who is at home in your heart? This might just be a tougher question to answer than we first think, because our first inclination is to say, "Well, Jesus, of course." Yet, I have to ask, how many roommates is Jesus forced to live with? How much space do these other roommates take up in that heart of yours - in my own heart? It might be that roommate of constant guilt, always yacking at you and never letting you forget it is around. It could be the roommate of pride, demanding its own way and struggling to allow control to be "lost" in anyway. It could even be the roommate of negativity, nagging and demeaning until you just don't want to even be around yourself any longer! Either way, Jesus might just be in "competition" for a little more space in our hearts - if we were totally honest here.
I remember the first trip my BFF and I took together. We were pretty sure we'd do well sharing space in a cabin on a cruise ship, enjoying a few rays on the deck together, and luxuriating in the quietness of the open seas. I'd have to say that back then, we did well together, but we hadn't grown in our trust of each other quite like we have now. In fact, as we travel together these days, we are quite comfortable just hanging with each other, being our real selves, and we actually look forward to these times with anticipation and excitement. It is like we have grown comfortable being in "each other's space", yet still giving each other "enough space" to be exactly as we are. In these couple of week's a year we get to enjoy away from caregiving of elderly parents, work, and all the routine of life, we get to just unwind, put our feet up, take long walks, enjoy a little piece of God's beautiful earth, and just "hang". I think God wants those special times with us, too, but it could just be our lives are a little too "occupied" to allow many of these times!
While retreats and special times away are good to recenter our lives and help us regain focus, they probably aren't the true "staple" of life by which we all live and breathe. We must learn to balance the constant barrage of demands the "roommates" in our heart make upon us, right down to kicking some of those "roommates" out so there is more room for the one who really matters! We have a tendency to not want to deal with the roommate nobody wants - but why? Why do we tolerate that "messy" roommate who makes us feel dirty inside? Why do we permit that "intrusive" roommate to take up more space than we want to give it? Why do we humor the "demanding" roommate who always makes its own needs the most important needs of the moment? Perhaps it is because we aren't really all that good at serving the eviction notices!
The truth of the matter is that most of us have a hard time "evicting" these "space-consuming" roommates in our heart. It isn't meant to be our job alone - we need someone stronger and more powerful than us to "serve notice" and then kick them out - Jesus! Not only is he the most gentle, kind, and loving roommate our heart could ever welcome in, he is also the most powerful and capable! He will deal with these "space-consuming" roommates - but we have to be willing to serve notice and then allow him to enforce that notice. We stop and he starts. We put down roots and he gives us stability. We open the door and he kicks them to the curb. There is just not enough room for the stuff that only "consumes space"! Just sayin!