Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why Do We Ask Jesus To Come Into Our Hearts?

Paul prayed that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith. Yet, there are many who mock and scorn the idea of asking Jesus to come into our hearts. I understand why the world derides us, that is to be expected, but when the ridicule comes from within the walls of the church it is necessary to stand up and say something. It is time to silence the scoffing and explain why this is such an important foundation of our faith. Ephesians 3:16-17 asks:

I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

By Faith means that in order for Jesus to live in our hearts, we must place our trust and hope in Him and believe that He is God's Son, that He died for our sins and resurrected and we trust that He will forgive us. We have to believe His promise in order to receive it.

John 14 and 15 record Jesus comforting the disciples because He is going to have to leave them, but He promises to send His Spirit to take His place. He teaches them about God living with us and in us through His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us guidance, comfort and peace. Jesus tells his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled, then describes the Holy Spirit as a helper, and Spirit of Truth. He then explains that

You know him because he abides with you and will be in you....In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me and I in you....If anyone loves me, He will keep my word; and My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our abode with him.

Jesus continues on to promise to send the Holy Spirit in HIS name to teach us and He blesses us with the kind of peace that only comes from Him living with us, in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 1:22 describes God as the one:

Who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

He gives His Spirit in our hearts as a testimony so that we know His promises are true. So, is it Biblical to ASK or INVITE Him to come into our hearts? Revelation 3:20 answers:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. IF anyone hears my voice and opens the door, THEN I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

We have to open the door. We have to invite Jesus to come in. Just like He earnestly desired to eat the Passover meal with His disciples, He earnestly desires to have fellowship with us. But we need to welcome Him into our lives. Hebrews keeps repeating the phrase:

As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." (Hebrews 3:15)

Don't harden your heart and ignore the voice of God calling you. Open up, ask Him to come in, invite Him into your life. Experience a renewed heart.

In Ezekiel 36:26, God promises:

 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.

The word new is chadash in Hebrew. As a verb it means to repair or renew. In this use as an adjective, it means that God will give us a heart that has been repaired and made like new. Think of a surgeon repairing clogged arteries, operating on a fatty heart after a heart attack. God will repair our hurting, hardened and broken soul and make it like new through His Spirit at work in our lives. 

Romans 8:9 and Philippians 1:19 talk about the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus being actively involved in the lives of believers.

Is it Biblical to ask Jesus to come into your heart? Absolutely Yes. Romans 10:13 assures us:

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

To call upon the name of the Lord, epikaleomai onoma, means to ASK, to appeal, to humble oneself, repent and call out for help. We have to confess that we are sinners, desperately in need of salvation. It means to receive Jesus into our lives, asking to be called by his name, crying out for Him. How do we communicate with God? Through Prayer. The word pray means to ask. When we ask Him to come into our lives and receive Him as our salvation, His Spirit becomes our comforter, counselor, helper, guide and friend. I encourage you to Welcome Him into your life.

If you don't know what to pray, I suggest looking to the Psalms, a book of songs, many of which are sung prayers. The New Testament writers frequently quoted from Psalms and Paul encouraged us to sing and teach each other with them. Psalm 51 provides a great example of a prayer of repentance for salvation. I suggest reading the whole song. Here are some of the words of David from that Psalm to help you get started:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your faithful love,
According to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion
Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin............

You desire truth in the inner being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart (deep within)
Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean
Wash me and I will be whiter than snow...

Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.

Becoming a Christ-Follower (or not) is a serious decision that we all have to make. When we accept Christ, we are Baptized to let the world know we have made the choice and we are His. God seeks us first. He calls, but we must answer. He knocks, but we must let Him in. He offers His covenant, but holds us accountable for our decision to accept or reject it. And that is why we ask Jesus to come into our hearts. Growing up in a Baptist church, we always ended our services by singing a hymn of invitation, often it was The Savior Is Waiting which teaches this truth so well:

The Savior is waiting to enter your heart
Why don't you let Him come in
There's nothing in this world to keep you apart
What is your answer to Him?

Time after time, He has waited before
And now He is waiting again
To see if you're willing to open the door
Oh, how He wants to come in

If you'll take one step toward the Savior, my friend
You'll find His arms open wide
Receive Him and all of your darkness will end
Within your heart He'll abide

Psalm 147:3 tells us that He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. God redeems broken lives. He forgives our sins, eases our pain, sweetens the bitterness that hardens us up and He heals broken hearts. And He doesn't just heal us. He fills us with joy, peace and a calm assurance that we are His well-loved children. Will you receive this gift? Will you ask Jesus to come into your heart?

Scripture tells us that everyone who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Here is the link to a related article I wrote on what it means to call upon the name of the Lord:

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