I lived in three very different homes growing up. First, I lived in an old two-story Cape Cod-style house in Chautauqua, Ohio (from birth – 3 years old). The only things I remember about my first home is it was cold, had a big staircase, and a big concrete porch that I fell off of. From the old house in the little village of Chautauqua, my family moved to the beautiful hills of West Middletown, Ohio. My parents wanted some land to raise their kids on so they purchased a three-bedroom ranch style home in the middle of nowhere. I have great memories of my second home because I had a lot of land to play on. I remember rolling and sledding down the slanted backyard and playing pirates in the woods that was behind our six-acre property. But, the house in West Middletown was too far from town and it was tough to get to and from in the winter months. So, when I was seven years old, we moved to the suburbs in east Middletown, Ohio. My third house was a tri-level with a basement. (Think of a smaller version of the Brady Bunch home.) The bedrooms were on the upper story, the kitchen, dining room, and the living room were on the middle story, and the den (TV room) was on the lower level. I loved the neighborhood we lived in because it was full of kids, but the house was a mess of divided spaces with no sightlines. It was not an open concept home!
Now, although I grew up in three very different homes, there was one thing that never changed in any of the homes I grew up in. Children were not allowed in the Living Room! Why were children banned from the Living Room? First, the Living Room was the first room you saw in our home so it got the nicest couch and chairs. It was full of antiques and glass lamps. It was dressed in fancy curtains and plush carpet. Second, the living room was my mom’s space. It was her space to read, sew, and drink a cup of coffee without Dad, the kids, the cat, or the television.
The only time I was allowed in the Living Room was on holidays. On those special days (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Day), I was permitted to step into the nicest room in the house and sit quietly while my grandparents and all my aunts and uncles visited. Of course, I was not allowed to wear shoes, drink or eat anything, or move around in the Living Room. And, I would have been strung up in the apple tree in the back yard if I put my feet up on the sofa or on the sofa table. I couldn’t move from one place to another or touch anything in mom’s Living Room. I had to sit and listen to the grownups talk about the economy, weather, and cold war with Russia until I was excused to run wild in the basement with the other kids. We had a Living Room in all of our homes, but I was not permitted to feel at home in any of them!
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul teaches Christians how to live in Christ so they can live like Christ. In chapter one, Paul lists the spiritual blessings Christians have in Christ. Then, in chapter two, Paul details the spiritual position Christians have in Christ. Then, as he concludes the doctrinal section of the book, Paul reveals God’s plan for the unified Christian church in chapter three and he prays for the believers living in Ephesus. Here is Paul’s prayer for the Christians living in Ephesus.
“… I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 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.” Ephesians 3:14–19 NLT
What did Paul ask God to do for the Ephesus Christians?
• Paul asked God to empower them so they could make Christ at home in their hearts.
Why did Paul pray in this way for the believers in Ephesus?
- Paul knew they were not allowing Jesus total access to every part of their lives.
Paul had spent a lot of time with the Christians living in Ephesus. He had examined their lives. He knew they were not allowing Christ to feel at home in every room of their house. Yes, Jesus lived in them, but he was not permitted to take full ownership of their minds, emotions, attitudes, and conduct. Most disturbingly, Paul had witnessed how the Christians in Ephesus were not showing love to others because they had not fully experienced Christ’s love themselves. The believers in Ephesus were distant to others in their community because they had not allowed Jesus’ love to completely saturate their hearts!
Paul wanted the believers in Ephesus to allow Christ to go where He wanted to go and do what he wanted to do in their lives. And, that is the Apostle Paul’s desire for us today. Paul wants every Christian to allow Jesus to settle down and make His home in their heart. No room should be off-limits to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
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