The Divine Squatter (part 1): Heart is Where the Home is
Heart is where the home is
The Washington, DC area is infamous for exorbitant housing prices. Finding an affordable home generally means choosing between a log cabin in West Virginia’s woods or a cardboard box on Pennsylvania Avenue. Despite the earthquake-like tremors DC dwelling sends through my budget, I’ve grown to love this powerhouse town.
As a renter in the District (technically Virginia, but it’s still DC-ish), the end of a lease period comes with a nagging question: should I stay or move? This quandary shares a striking metaphor with my heart. While everyone knows the terribly cliche adage, “Home is where the heart is”, what if the inverse is true? What if my heart is a home? If it is, who lives there?
Finding the right tenant
Finding the perfect tenant for my heart is eerily similar to the concerns about renewing a lease. The right occupant can bring vitality and vividness to a home while the wrong one can make the Pennsylvania Avenue tent seem tempting. Whoever comes to live in my heart, the vacancy won’t last long.
When the children of Israel were wondering through the desert, they faced a similar issue. Speaking on their recent opening, God declared to this people, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Ultimately, the Father wants to be the sole occupier of our affections. We, however, have ousted divine charity in favor of lesser loves.
Getting a handle on the door to your heart
Despite bolted locks and blackened windows, the Lord “stands at the door and knocks” (Revelation 3:20). When God comes to our door, his persistence would annoy even the most dedicated Mormon missionary. Until his love is the center of our affections, the Father will never relent.
This divine tenacity can’t stop loving. When creation was just a distant thought, the Father eternally poured out his affection to Jesus (John 3:35). The depth of their shared love quickly overflowed into creation. God made the world so he could love us.
In the final days of his earthly ministry, Jesus asked that the Father would liberally offer his love to humanity. “Father,” Christ prayed, “I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24).
Because of his overwhelming affection for his Son, the Father was delighted to unite us to his love. And “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). As we experience this sacred love and goodness, it dispossesses our hearts of all lesser affections. You’ll find the Holy Spirit moving in boxes before the old tenant has even started to leave.
Though God is quick to come to our hearts, the prior occupants are tireless squatters. This new series will explore the nature of these sordid stragglers (vices such as disappointment, anger, bitterness, and fear) as well as how the Lord’s love expels them.