Several months ago I wrote a blog called “With Us,” in which I expressed my thankfulness that God wants to be with us and has provided a way for us to be with Him forever. That’s what Emmanuel, my favorite name for Jesus, means. God with Us.
I’ve been thinking about that today in very practical terms. Put on your imagination caps, so to speak, and imagine with me some scenarios. What if a dear friend came to visit you today. Wouldn’t you put on your best behavior? Serve your favorite food? Spend time communicating? Share your heart? Interact with family members kindly?
Now imagine that Jesus came in the flesh to visit you in your home today. What would you do differently? How would you change your normal behavior? Would your speech reflect kindness and love, or would bitterness and discontent spue out of your mouth? What would you say to Him? What would you say to those around you?
I sometimes wonder who I would be more like – Mary or Martha? When Jesus visited these two sisters, who both loved Him, one sat at His feet. The other criticized her sister for not helping her in the kitchen. I think I’m a little like both of them. I find joy in serving visitors in my home. But I hope I would not be so caught up in tasks that I would neglect the opportunity to quietly drink in all that Jesus had to teach me.
I’m not saying all of this to make you feel guilty. I’m just throwing out a challenge for all of us. Jesus is with us. Jesus is in us. He lives with us in our homes through the Holy Spirit. His Spirit, who is everywhere, observes all of our actions, day in and day out. How many times we must grieve Him by ignoring His presence and behaving in selfish ways!
Here are some challenges from the Scriptures. “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you” (Ephesians 4:29-30, Good News Translation). “I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10). “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV). “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ (II Thessalonians 3:5, NKJV). You can’t get any more practical than that, can you? Is Christ in your home today, helping you to live up to His expectations?