Part Three: The Place of the Colonization
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in Ephesians 3:14-19 exposed the apostle’s heart concerns for the believers that he had led to the Lord so many years earlier. The church had expanded, adding converts and had continued faithfully with the Lord for years. Within this prayer, Paul has exposed them to a spiritual reality I have defined as Spiritual Colonization. In the first two parts of this series we have looked at the colonizer and at the colonization. In this third part of our series, we will look more closely at the place of the colonization.
What we have seen so far is that there is a marked difference between being related to Christ and having an intimate relationship with Christ, the essence of Spiritual Colonization. Let me illustrate. There are many relatives that we have that we are related to by blood, but that for all intents and purposes we have no effective relationship with. We are one with them in family, but the level of intimacy that we have with them is nil. However, there may be a cousin whom you grew up with, spent time with, sacrificed for, allowed into all the facets of your life, whom you have commonality and fellowship with, with whom you have a high level of intimacy. You have a knowledge of both relatives, but only with one do you have a knowledge of intimacy.
Let me make this even more plain and bring it home even more clearly for us. The horrific events of September 11th, 2001, drove many Americans to churches, many of them for the first time. For what were the ones who left church in the first place looking? For what were the many new comers looking? Were they looking for an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, or a way to make sense of the senselessness? Were they searching for communion with a person, or for a release from pent-up frustration and anger? Here is an even more important question: what did they find in the church when they came? Were they pointed to Christ or prayer? Were they pointed to intimacy with the Savior, or fellowship with like sufferers? Were they pointed to repentance or empathy? Were they pointed to the uneasiness of knowing that Christ wanted to come into their life and blow it up and remake it after His own blueprint? Or were they told that Christ felt their pain? At that time, one young father on the evening news summarized why he was now going to church when he only used to go sporadically before September 11th. What he said was as a family, “because of what happened, they just wanted to be around everyone else.” He was going to church so that he would not feel isolated.
Now, hear me correctly. The second half of my contrasts are not necessarily bad, but all of them are only band-aids in comparison to the real solution, the real answer to life, which is intimacy with the person of Jesus Christ. And it was for this reality that Paul was praying on the behalf of the Ephesians, and for which they must be strengthened with spiritual power if they were going to properly experience it. Christ’s settling down in the believer’s heart has do with both His ease within the context of your life and the intimacy that such an ease produces. Is Christ perfectly at home in you? If not, like Paul, this must be our prayer and thus our pursuit.
The place of this settling down is said to be “in your hearts.” What truly is the heart in the Biblical view of mankind? Many people have defined the heart as the seat of man’s emotion, its fountain head. However, this clearly cannot be the case since according to Jesus your thoughts and actions also spring from there (Mt. 15:15-20). The term heart is another term for the inner man, from it coming thoughts, actions, emotions, and everything else that makes us humans. It is used more than any other term or phrase for the inner man, such as soul, spirit, or mind. We might define the heart then as the Bible’s comprehensive, descriptive term of the multifaceted nature of human personality and the core of his being. It is more than the human being thinking, choosing, emoting, or feeling. It is us, who we are in our person and being.
Now, what are the implications of Paul praying that Christ would settle down there? What are the implications of realizing that Christ wants to be completely at ease in your heart, the very seat and source of your personality and being? The implications are too vast and almost too scary to begin to seriously consider, but the believer must consider it for this was what Paul prayed, and therefore what all believers should be praying as well. Christ comes into the believer’s life to colonize his personality and being. Often times we look at our personality, who we are, as unchangeable, but this is the very thing that Christ desires to do. He is remaking our personality into His own. No part of you is off limits to His omnipotent work.
Consider these thoughts. How often have you resisted and short-circuited that colonization process? Are you developing those virtues that Christ is most comfortable with: holiness, patience, kindness, gentleness, righteousness, etc.? Are you practicing those disciplines that Christ enjoys practicing: reading and studying the Bible, praying, witnessing, listening to the exposition of the Word? Are you meditating upon those things that Christ likes to think about: things that are truthful, honorable, pure, lovely, and good? Are you defending those things Christ defends: truth, His children, the church? Saints, is it any wonder that Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be given strength? Strength is necessary to experience a relationship and an overhaul of this magnitude.
Christ does not want to be on the outside of your life simply looking in, but rather He wants to be completely and absolutely in the very center of your being and personality, running the whole show. And it is to such an end that Paul prayed for the Ephesians.