Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Children’s Playroom

Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Children’s Playroom

Dwelling in God’s Heart – The Children’s Playroom.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  (James 4:8).

“I am inside My Father, and you are inside Me, and I am inside you.” (John 14:20).

Even though the phrase “accept Jesus into our heart” is not in Scripture, we get the picture. Accepting Jesus into our hearts means we receive Him into the very core of our being, into the centerpiece of who we are, affecting everything about us. When we receive Jesus into our heart-home, our identity becomes His, the essence of our personhood is intimately wrapped into the essence of Christ’s Personhood. When we make our home in His home, He miraculously become a resident inside each of us as well. And when we experience that Double Union with Jesus Christ, we discover that our spiritual location is inside of the very heart of God. In other words, if the Son is inside the Father, and we are inside the Son, then logically we are inside the Father! By dwelling in the Son’s heart, we dwell in the Father’s heart as well. By living inside the “Person after God’s own heart,” we find ourselves inside God’s heart! As Paul claims in Colossians 3:3, believers are “hidden within Christ, inside of God.”

Way back in 1954 there was a creative little evangelistic tract produced by Inter-Varsity Press, written by a pastor named Robert Boyd Munger. He entitled his brief tract, “My Heart – God’s Home.” I recommend it if you find it. Following up on Revelation 3:20, Pastor Munger imagined a believer opening his door and escorting Jesus through the home of his heart, now that Jesus has taken up residence in him. Now that Jesus dwells in him, and He has moved into his heart, what will Jesus see there? So the believer in the tract proceeds to give a tour of his heart-home with Jesus as he welcomes Christ into his heart. Together they tour the person’s study, dining room, living room, workroom, recreation room, bedroom and hall closet. I thought this was an engaging idea, but now I would like to give the other side of the story. Jesus lives within us, to be sure. But we also live within Jesus, hence inside the very heart of God. So if the Father was to give us a guided tour of His heart, what would we find? What will be waiting for us to discover in the many rooms of God’s heart? We could easily entitle this, “God’s Heart -My Home.

Like anyone’s home, God’s heart will reflect His attitudes, motivations, personality, character traits, His heavenly “tastes” in interior décor. God’s deeply held convictions will be revealed in His heart-home, as they are in our own hearts. Using Scripture as our guide, we will explore God’s heart as we make ourselves at home and abide in Him. We will explore everything from the front porch to the front door, the living room to the dining room, from the kitchen to the study to the chapel. And many more rooms as well, like the bedroom, the bathroom, and the nursery. There may even be a sneak peek at the family room, the children’s playroom, and the school room.

THE CHILDREN’S PLAYROOM. What did Jesus mean when, after taking up a child into his arms, he said that whoever welcomes, whoever receives, one of these little children in his name in fact welcomes him? (Mark 9:36-37). It would take a lifetime to plumb the depths of his statement, but it’s almost as if Jesus might be saying:

Here’s the bottom line, people… I love children. I knit every one of them together, strung together their DNA, wired each nervous system. I gave the first breath of life to each and every one! I invented each personality, fashioned each child from scratch, and then danced a jig to celebrate every birth. And so I designed each child to represent much of what is true of my Kingdom: simple and transparent, playful and straightforward, relational and curious, zealous and dynamic, dependent and vulnerable.

Children, all of them in general and each one in particular, are my pride and joy. Unfortunately, each prize package is also vulnerable in this fallen world of mine. So they have my heart, and I have their back.

I’m like any good parent, only more so. I take personally whatever happens to them, as if it happens to me. I’m like the mom who screeches “ouch” when her child falls on the sidewalk. I’m like the dad who basks in the moment when his child succeeds at something after hard work and sacrifice. So when a little ragamuffin kid is received with kindness and respect, I take it personally, and I feel like I’m being received that way too.

When parents graciously open their home to be blessed with a child – as an act of faith and trust – they had better set an extra plate at the table for me. When schools welcome students into their classrooms as honored guests made in my image, they’d better get an extra desk for me. Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me, the Lord of children.

Yahweh becomes a household name whenever love for children is a natural outgrowth of love for me, be they sick or healthy, athletic or awkward, academic or imaginative, passive or exuberant, a rock star or someone who is easily lost in the shuffle. I’m like this with anyone who is vulnerable, with a person of any age who is overlooked or undervalued. Whenever the underdogs are welcomed for my sake, I take it personally.

You know what? I know what if feels like. I was once an unknown child. I was once considered a fool and a misfit. I was misjudged and marginalized, criticized and belittled. So by all means, by every means, welcome my children into your hearts in my Name of Love, and you will find that you’d better open your arms a little wider, because I’m right there with you. Make room for me, too.

Emphasizing the Play in Playroom: Z is for Zest

“He who has the faith has the fun!” If G. K. Chesterton was right, Christian schools and homes need to make sure they are not operating with a personality defect. Being salt of the earth has many functions,including that of being a preservative, a peacemaker between people, an ancient home remedy for infection and disease. But have we forgotten that salt is spicy, that it adds flavor and zest and liveliness when applied to foods? So when Jesus told us to be the salt of the earth, in part he told us that this world needs something to liven it up in a righteous sort of way. He is saying that His Spirit is not dead or morbid, and that he wants us to add the spice of life through us to a bland world.

Christian parents and teachers, then, should be live wires, unconventional risk-takers, lively personalities who are unafraid to break the mold. And students should not be pressed into unnecessary conformity, but instead encouraged to be innocent rascals, clever as serpents and innocent as doves.

The same could be said for the Christian church, which too often suffers from a lifeless and needless conformity. Actually, church history reveals an amazing concoction of diverse personalities. They had character, but they were also characters.

Christian homes and schools could easily provide the ministry of gusto, a wake-up call to the church and the world, encouraging all to be alive and kicking, bringing zest and spice to the table of the world.

“Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ of people, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been; how gloriously different are the saints.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).