Imagine if you will your entire being, soul, mind, and body, is really an elaborate house created for Jesus to dwell. To continue this product of our imagination, imagine walking through the halls of your psyche side-by-side with Jesus. The whole way He is pointing out places to hang beautiful art, spots where luxurious furniture should go, and whole sections designed with beauty and opulence in mind. Imagine a grand staircase winding from the ground floor all the way to the top and at every landing beauty abounds.
Somewhere along the way, in this imaginative scenario, Jesus proposes a slight change in the architecture. Maybe a vaulted ceiling, or larger dining room, possibly a bigger fireplace in the den, regardless is not much of the change. You start to get frustrated. Later He proposes another change, also something minor but needed as a goes with the previous change. The frustration grows a little more.
At some point, the little changes start to press against your own personal design aesthetic. Eventually you turn to Jesus and ask for space. He looks at the entirety of the mansion that He has created inside your being and you know he is wondering how far He has to be from you to give you the space you need. You look at the same mansion and you feel that it is too restrictive and confining for both of you. Jesus turns to you with a look and you lead Him out the back door.
Somewhere in the backyard, you have erected a tent. The tent is not pretty or special, there is no potbellied stove to keep Him warm, there is not even a decent sleeping bag. You figure that He is the creator of the universe and if He wants, He can create whatever He needs for His tent. As you turn to go back into your house, He stands waiting for you to say something. You turn back for a moment and tell Jesus that if He needs a shower or would like to use the kitchen He is welcome. You also say that you would like to schedule some more design sessions for the house but not this week.
You then reenter your house while Jesus, the creator of the universe, supposedly the lover of your soul, is left to live like a hobo in your backyard.
This seems like a silly scenario and none of us would ever admit to doing this. Did you catch what I said, none of us would admit to doing this. The truth is that all of us at some point or another in our walk with Christ have done this. We like some of the initial changes that Jesus makes in our life. We enjoy the freedom that He gives us; we even enjoy some of His suggestions. When push comes to shove though, we want to be in charge so slowly we encourage him to live in our backyard visiting occasionally to make approved changes.
When this image came to me, I have to admit I was ashamed and embarrassed. The idea that I would push Jesus out of my home to live as a hobo in my backyard made my skin crawl. Tears sprang to my eyes and I asked Jesus if I had done this to him. He did not give me a direct answer, the clouds did not part, a booming voice from heaven did not echo down to me. Nevertheless, I knew the answer to my question; I knew where I had placed my Jesus.
Jesus wants all. He does not want partial ownership or visitation rights. He wants it all!
Looking at the statement, I have just written I must confess that it frightens me. I sing songs, write papers, and preach sermons about getting my all to Jesus. I know the church answer that I am supposed to give nevertheless the concept terrifies me. The reason for the fear is that I know me. I look in the mirror (when I can muster the courage) and I see me for who I am all the flaws and failures. I look at myself and when I am honest, I do not like what I see.
My greatest fear is that when I open myself completely to Jesus, He will not want me. This is a great lie from the enemy. The enemy is the accuser, the manipulator, the bringer of confusion and destruction. The enemy tells us we are worthless and unlovable. Jesus tells us when we were at our most unlovable state He loved us. The enemy says if we allow Jesus into our house, He will see how truly unworthy we are. Jesus handcrafted us. He knows where all the flaws are before we show him.
The great lie from the enemy begins when he tries to convince us that there are parts of our existence that Jesus does not know about. Do we really believe that we worship a God that is so weak that we can actually hide things from Him?
While my fears of openness persist, my desire for oneness with Christ grows in strength every day. Every Christian has pockets of darkness within their soul. At times, those pockets expand and threaten to overtake us. When this happens, we should turn to Jesus who is the light to push back the darkness. All He wants us to love us eternally with a tenderness and intimacy that mere words cannot describe.