You Are God’s Permanent Dwelling Place!
From time to time, many of us get caught up in the challenges of life and sometimes fail to notice all that God is accomplishing in our midst. As we go through life each day, we can become so fixated on our daily challenges and trials that we lose sight not only of what God has done, but also of what He is doing on our behalf.
So today I must ask you — what are you expecting from the Lord and what are you thanking Him for in your life? Certainly life can seem overwhelming at times, but we need to remember that although we experience momentary afflictions, our overwhelming victory in Christ is permanent and eternal. It’s during those times when the shifting tides of life threaten to unnerve us or to displace our footing that we need to recognize the permanent stability of our true Foundation, Jesus Christ. He is our Strong Tower, Shelter, and our Dwelling Place. We can count on that! But even more important is the fact that He has chosen to make our hearts His permanent dwelling place.
The apostle Paul emphatically declares this truth in Ephesians 3:17, where he wrote, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…being rooted and grounded in love.” That word “dwell” is the Greek word katoikeo, a compound of the words kata and oikos. The word kata means down, and the word oikos is the Greek word for a house. The word oikos could also be used in a larger sense to describe a family clan or a larger social unit, such as the house of David, or it could depict a local community. In the New Testament, the primary meaning of the word oikos is a house or location where an individual, entity, family, or community permanently dwells.
When kata and oikos are compounded, the new word katoikeo (“dwell”) carries the idea of one who permanently resides at a specific location. Thus, Paul’s use of this word implies not only that Christ establishes His physical residence in a faith-filled heart by the Holy Spirit, but also that He is at home and permanently settled there. That location has become His dwelling place, His temple, His property, His place of permanent residence — and He has become a perpetual, never-to-move-out Occupant!
Isn’t that comforting to know? Christ’s dwelling is permanently fixed within our hearts, and He has no intention of ever leaving us or abandoning us for another place of residence! That means He knows what we face every day, and He faces it with us. It is impossible for us to live without Jesus’ attention to every detail in our lives, because He perpetually dwells inside us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. This also means there is no place to run or hide from Christ, because He literally goes where we go and is always present wherever we are. We are His permanent earthly residence, not merely a stop on His way to somewhere else!
Christ Himself is in every challenge we face, so we can rest assured that God is always with and in us. He is always present to sustain us, strengthen us, and guide us through this life. He never leaves or forsakes us. We are His permanent dwelling place.
It’s no wonder that First John 4:4 declares, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!” Jesus Christ lives inside you! He is greater than any challenge you may be facing right now. That’s a great reason in itself to thank Him and praise Him for everything He has done in and for you in the past — and to expect Him to do great things in your life in the future beginning today!
How can Denise and I and our team specifically pray for you this month? We pray for all our partners every day, anyway. But knowing what is especially on your heart right now helps us know just how to pray. The more Denise and I soak up the Word of God in our lives daily, the more filled with expectation we become not just for ourselves, but for the friends and partners who have faithfully walked with us and supported us in the ministry all these years.
Never be afraid or intimidated to expect big things from God; He delights in your faith and confident trust in Him and His holy Word. And do let us know about the things that are closest to your heart. We are honored to be your prayer partners!
And we truly do love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families