How often do you welcome guests with the following words: Come in! Make yourself at home!
When we say those words, what we mean is …
My home is your home.
I want you to feel as comfortable here as you do in your own home.
Take off your shoes, if you want. Put your feet on my couch!
Help yourself to my refrigerator and my pantry!
How many of us, when we’ve heard those words, actually live in them?
When my high school friend Dee came over, she opened our refrigerator and said, “What have you got to eat in here?” When I went to her house I helped myself to the Hershey’s fun size candy bars on the kitchen island, or to a handful of grapes from her refrigerator. We spent the night with each other and considerable time with one another’s families. We were best friends and felt completely comfortable in each other’s homes. Not only that, we looked forward to being there.
My girls have similar relationships with their friends. In fact, sometimes I wonder if they’d rather be at their friends’ houses than their own!
Home is also a place of security and sanctuary. A place to find rest when we’re weary. Safety when we’re afraid.
This sense of “at home” is exactly how God wants us to feel with Him in His home.
At Home Then
Three times a year, faithful Hebrews journeyed to Jerusalem to worship their God in the Temple—His earthly dwelling place. The psalmist described the heart of these pilgrims in Psalm 84.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord. (vs. 1-2)
What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. (v. 4)
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. (v. 10)
At Home Now
There’s nothing quite like drawing near to God in the fellowship of believers. Studying God’s Word together. Worshiping together. Serving together. My dearest friends are at my church. Like Dee’s house, it is my second home.
Guess what. People live in that home. Yes, a family. My church family. I have things to offer them. They have things to offer me (Ephesians 4:11-12). It’s far from perfect. But it’s the family God gave me. God uses them (including their imperfections) to refine me and to help me grow. To soften my imperfections. (Oh! I have so many!)
We grow and mature through tough times in our families of origin. We also grow and mature through tough times within our church family–even when we’ve been wounded deeply. As we forgive and overcome these difficulties, our love for one another deepens (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
Although God does not want us to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25), occasionally life pulls us away. Vacations. Injury. Illness. Work. Sometimes I’m helping my husband with the “Sunday caregiving” of his parents.
That doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy a day in the courts of our God. He is with us all the time. When we give our hearts to Christ, the Holy Spirit makes His home in us. We become God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When we consciously draw near to Him, He responds by drawing near to us (James 4:8). This is when we sense His presence. Reading His Word and praying in our quiet moments with Him at the beginning or close of the day. On a quiet walk through a park. Worshiping during our workout routine—or our housework! We bring God into every aspect of our lives (1 Corinthians 10:31).
At Home Soon
Some day we’ll be truly “at home” with the Lord. Before Jesus died, He told His disciples:
There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:2-3)
Until then, we have the joy of sharing and enjoying life with our church family. Finding safety and security there. Indeed, it is a beautiful gift.Do you know the gift of God's family? Are you at home in His house?
What do you love most about being in God’s house and enjoying His family?