Growing up in the country, I would often be stopped by a passing motorist, while riding my bike, and asked directions to someone’s home. Where would a non-believer, one unfamiliar with New Testament Christianity, seek Jesus’ presence?
Paul explained to the Philippians that the Christian is to be “Christ-like” (1:21). He told the Galatians that Christ lives in the Christian (Gal. 2:20). It would stand to reason that one seeking Jesus would look to the Christian to find His presence. John became more specific when he wrote that Jesus lives in the obedient (1 Jn. 3:24). We could correctly conclude that Jesus does not live in just anyone who calls themselves “Christians”, but those who are obedient in the Christian walk. Jesus said the same when He declared that “Not everyone who says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21).
Christian living is in the church and we learn that Christianity is expressed in action, by looking into the “mirror”, the word of God, one can make necessary adjustments to his life (Jas. 1:22, 27). Christians cannot live in the world and be Christ-like, capable of showing Christ’s presence in us (1 Jn. 2:15-17). The presence of Jesus is to be found in those who are “in the world, but not of the world” (Jn. 17:11). If we fall in love with the world, it is natural to practice the life of the world with no room or welcome remaining for Jesus to dwell in our hearts. Furthermore, He cannot reside by faith for our trust has been placed elsewhere (2 Tim. 4:10). We must remember that friendship with the world is enmity with God; both cannot reside in a Christian simultaneously (Jas. 4:4).
Christians are an open book in that we are “shining lights” (Matt. 15:16; Phil. 2:14-15) and “living epistles” (2 Cor. 3:2) who are seen and read of all men. As the star in the East (Matt. 2:2) beaconed the physical location of the baby Jesus, His word in the hearts of His followers illuminates His glorious presence in the world today.
Life is an expression of the heart (Mk. 7:21) and when conformed to His image the correct message about Jesus is expressed (Rom. 8:29). We can readily determine where our hearts are in relationship to Jesus by discovering our attitude toward His word, our brethren, toward religious error, sin in general and our attitude toward His work. Can others determine where Jesus lives by the “road signs” that you display?
–Mike King, Lakeside church of Christ