Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Releasing, Dec 16
The Christmas story is one of joy and peace and hope. We see those words sprinkled around in the decorations of the seasons, but they describe the end of the story instead of the beginning. To get to the end, we always have to start at the beginning. The key word that describes the beginning is incarnation which speaks of Jesus coming “in the flesh.” This is clear form John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
But, why is this significant? Because it means that Jesus came to get His hands dirty … to live in the mess of this world. By living in the midst of it, He was able to bring joy and peace and hope. And, what does this mean for us? Along with incarnation, the other words that would be more helpful would be invasion and infiltration. He came to invade our lives and go behind enemy lines. It’s hard to see such an intensity in the small hands and tiny feet of a baby, but it’s all there if you look hard enough.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: will I let Him in … past my lines of defense? As we learn to listen to Him, we begin to trust as our hearts are softened. Then, the next step of trust is to release. Will I release myself to Him? Will I let Him have His way?
It can get tricky because He is not a demanding, severe God and we can mistake His gentleness for nonchalance as we say “It’s not that big of a deal if I hold on to this one part of my life.” Is He gracious and patient? Yes! But, it is a big deal. As we release and let go, we find life … His life unfolding inside of us. Do you have a vision for what this life might be like? The great C. S. Lewis suggested the following:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
Is there a part of your life to which you are clinging? Is there something that you are not releasing? Are you holding up the remodeling project? Often, we are resistant to God’s plans but we aren’t even fully aware. How do we know if there are parts of our lives in which we are resisting? There are three primary ways we resist:
- We can act like everything in our lives is okay. (denial)
- We can compare ourselves to others and proclaim that we’re not that bad.
- We can talk about theological truth but keep it abstract.
The gracious remodeling project is ongoing in this life. Jesus desires to keep expanding and growing the capacity of hearts so that we might experience more and more of Him. The Apostle Paul talks about us being “filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19) That is the hope! That is the vision.
What do you need to release? What wall do you need to let Him knock down? Start with resistance. Pray and ask God to show you places where you are resistant. As you see it, release specific control as you pray: “My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I am not my own because I was bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
Today, as you walk through your day, pray this prayer as the Spirit brings it to your mind:
Father, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I want to live in You alone. I confess this is my deepest desire and yet I have other desires. Today, give me the courage to let go. Give me the strength to repent. Give me eyes to see those places of strength to which I cling that I might release all to You. Thank you for Your patience and grace and leading in my life. Enlarge my heart. Amen.