Hospitality Toward the Indwelling God

Someday soon (at least from an eternal perspective), Jesus will usher me into the place He’s been preparing (John 14:3). Feeble faith will become glorious sight (2 Cor. 5:7) as I step from my temporary dwelling to my unimaginable forever (2 Cor. 5:1–8). When I close my eyes and try to picture it, I see my Savior smiling as He says something like, “Welcome home.” 

Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

As we wait for God to make our home with Him, we experience a mysterious reversal. He makes His home with us—or rather within us. Though a CT scan would not reveal Him living beneath a left rib or hanging out behind a hamstring, He is present, dwelling inside all those who put their faith in Him. 

Perhaps you’ve heard this truth so often that it’s lost its luster. Let this post defibrillate your heart. Jesus lives within you

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)

This indwelling is not something we earn, nor is it something we lose. It is a gift of grace, added on to the gracious gift of salvation. Still, it’s worth asking, how can I show hospitality to the God living within me? What kind of heart is He pleased to dwell in?

Two Types of Hearts

Using our physical homes to extend biblical hospitality requires a softness. We don’t want guests to sit on hard furniture or experience stern faces. We want them to be welcomed by warmth, by fresh-baked cookies and tender smiles. Similarly, Scripture urges us to seek soft-heartedness because hard-heartedness creates a dynamic inhospitable to the Spirit’s work within us. Consider these parallels:

Hard hearts ignore the needs of others (Deut. 15:7–8).
Soft hearts resist compassion fatigue and keep caring (Eph. 4:32).

Hard hearts turn a blind eye to the sick and disabled (Mark 3:5).
Soft hearts are moved by the suffering of others (Matt. 25:40).

Hard hearts justify sin and refuse to repent (2 Chron. 36:13).
Soft hearts are broken by sin and repent often (Joel 2:13).

Hard hearts withhold forgiveness (Matt. 18:22–35).
Soft hearts forgive freely, acutely aware that they’ve been freely forgiven (Col. 3:13). 

Hard hearts are unchanged by the Word (Zech. 7:12). 
Soft hearts feel a desperate dependence on the Word (Psalm 119).

Hard hearts cheapen grace by persisting in known sin (Rom. 2:4–5).
Soft hearts are broken hearted by sin and desperate for the Spirit’s help to pursue holiness (Rom. 8:12–13).

Hard hearts obsess over the failures and shortcomings of others (Matt. 7:3–5).
Soft hearts recognize their own weakness and focus their prayers on “Lord, change me!” (Rom. 12:3).

Hard hearts need to be right (Prov. 12:15).
Soft hearts long to be righteous (Phil. 3:9). 

Hard hearts grumble.They are never satisfied (Ex. 16:8).
Soft hearts are grateful, recognizing the elaborate gifts God has already given (Col. 3:15). 

Hard hearts isolate, telling themselves that others would come to them if they really cared (Prov. 18:1).
Soft hearts depend on other believers for accountability, correction, wisdom, and friendship (Prov. 13:20). 

Give Us Hearts of Flesh

The deceitfulness of the world, the pain of living with other people, and the fatigue that comes with waiting for the restoration of all things . . . these add up to a constant temptation toward hard-heartedness. Yet if we want God to work as He lives within us, our hearts need to resist calcification and grow softer and more malleable in His hands. 

As you consider the list above, do you see evidence of a soft-heart? Or a hard one? (Even this requires the help of the Spirit within us!) A soft-heart recognizes it cannot stay soft on its own. This is a work of the Spirit, a gift worth asking God for again and again. He is the great heart-softener!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26–27)

Lord, give us hearts of flesh! 

When I became a Christian, I joined a church that often sang this chorus:

Come and make my heart your home. 
Come and be everything I am and all I know. 
Search me through and through,
Till my heart becomes a home for you.1

Mercifully, God has made my heart His home. He lives inside of me, even as He is preparing a time and place for me to dwell with Him forever. I cannot earn this gift with perfect behavior or attitudes, nor can you. But we can seek to have hearts where our loving Savior feels at home: soft toward Him and toward others. As we engage in the life-long, Spirit-dependent work of soft-heartedness, we look to our Savior with smiling faces and say, “Welcome home.” 

It’s Tuesday, which means the next installment in our “You’re Welcome Here” video series releases today! In this episode, join Erin back in Houston where she’ll catch up with Revive Our Hearts staff writer Katie Laitkep (a familiar voice on the blog!) to see how she is learning to embrace biblical hospitality as a younger, single woman in a metropolitan area. Watch the video, and don’t forget to request a copy of the corresponding study, “You’re Welcome Here: Embracing the Heart of Hospitality,” as our thanks for your gift of any amount to the ministry.

 From “My Heart, Your Home” by Nathan Nockels and Christy Nockels.

About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager … read more …

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