CHRIST MAKING HIS HOME IN OUR MIND, EMOTION, AND WILL
Christ has entered into us and is dwelling in us, but now He still wants to make His home in our hearts. In order to understand this matter, I spent much time studying the New Testament, hoping to find out from the Bible what it means for Christ to make His home in our hearts and how He does it. It has been thirty-three years since 1950, when I began to speak about the mingling of God with man and the indwelling of Christ. I was studying, and during that time I was speaking. Today although I dare not say that I have studied this matter thoroughly, I can say that for the most part I have studied it clearly. Now I will use simple words to tell you how Christ is making His home in our hearts.
First, we need to know that man was created according to the image of Christ. To put it in a simple way, Christ is the expression of God, and He is the very God Himself. The biblical record shows that Christ is full of wisdom; it also shows us His mind. Paul said to the believers in the church in Philippi, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Furthermore, the Bible shows us the meekness of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 10:1 Paul said, “I myself…entreat you through the meekness…of Christ.” The term meekness has many denotations. It refers to an expression and a virtue. To be meek is to be mild toward men, without resisting or disputing. This virtue comes out of our nature and our character. Nature is something inherent, whereas character is something expressed. Our nature and character are related to our mind, emotion, and will. Therefore, in order to be meek, we must have meekness inwardly as our nature and then we must manifest it outwardly as our character. This nature must be something produced out of our mind, emotion, and will. It is not something dead. You cannot say that a piece of wood or a table is meek. You can say, for example, that they are smooth. Smoothness is not something of our nature or our character, because it does not require the functions of our mind, emotion, and will. Meekness not only comes out of our mind, emotion, and will, but it also comes out of our conscience and spirit. It comes out of what you are, that is, your inner person; it also comes out of what you do, that is, your personality manifested outwardly.
Meekness is the image of the Lord Jesus, which is what He is and what He does. The four Gospels in the New Testament show us that the Lord was a meek person. Hence, meekness is a photo of Jesus Christ. His entire human life, His thirty-three and a half years of living on earth, was full of meekness. His mind was a mind of meekness, His emotion was an emotion of meekness, and His will was a will of meekness. His character was meek, His heart was meek, and His Spirit was meek. His soul, His heart, and His Spirit were meek. His entire being was full of meekness. This was the image of the Lord Jesus.
Now let us look at ourselves. God created us as proper human beings according to Christ. We know that all the things were created by God according to their kind. Birds are according to the bird-kind, fish are according to the fish-kind, dogs are according to the dog-kind, cats are according to the cat-kind, walnuts are according to the walnut-kind, and apples are according to the apple-kind. Then, man is according to which kind? Man is according to God’s kind because man was created according to the image of God, which is Christ. Hence, man was created according to the image of Christ for the purpose of containing Christ. After we have believed in Christ, He comes in to dwell in us and to make His home in our hearts. However, according to our experience, Christ’s making His home in our hearts requires a long period of time and process.
A person may have already believed in the Lord for quite a period of time and Christ has been in him in quite a deep way. However, Christ is like the hand that has entered into the glove but has not been able to extend the fingers into the proper places. Hence, such a one still needs a period of time to enjoy Christ continually and have the fellowship of life with the brothers and sisters. Only after Christ has gained and occupied more ground in him can He begin to make His home in this one. This is just like placing the thumb of the hand into the thumb of the glove. This is also similar to moving into a new house; when the owner puts a large piece of furniture in a suitable place in the new bedroom, he begins the process of his making home in the new house. Then the one that Christ is making His home in continues to attend meetings and have fellowship with the brothers and sisters, call on the name of the Lord, and enjoy the Lord by eating and drinking Him. Gradually another “finger” goes in and Christ thus makes His home in another room. After another period of time, another “finger” goes in and Christ thus makes His home in still another room.
In this way Christ is making His home in our hearts little by little. This process of making home in us is very slow, and it may not be fully accomplished even after we have passed through all the days of our entire life. The higher the life is, the slower is the process of growth. The life within us is indeed very high, so its growth is exceedingly slow. Only lower forms of life can grow speedily. Hence, you should not expect to grow quickly, because the life in you is the highest life. Although Christ as our life grows very slowly, He is growing in us steadily and solidly.
Ephesians 3:17 does not say that “Christ may make His home in you.” Instead, it explicitly says that “Christ may make His home in your hearts.” Our heart is composed of all the parts of our soul—mind, emotion, and will—plus our conscience, the main part of our spirit. Our heart is joined to our soul and is also connected with our spirit. The real center of our being is not in our outward body but in our inward heart. Our heart—which is joined to the soul, connected with the spirit, and composed of the mind, the emotion, the will, and the conscience—is the totality of all our inward parts. When Christ makes His home in our heart, He controls our entire inward being, and He also supplies and strengthens every inward part with Himself. This is not just an illustration; it is a fact.
Christ not only enters into us, but He also wants to make His home in our heart. When Christ comes into us, He comes into our spirit. Yet it is very likely that He merely stays there and has not entered into the different parts of our heart. Hence, He is waiting within us for us to love Him and cooperate with Him, and He is also waiting for us to know Him and take Him as life. If we love Him and cooperate with Him, we afford Him the opportunity to come into our mind to become its content. This is just like the thumb of our hand getting into the thumb of a glove to be its content. You have believed in the Lord, yet your mind may be void of Christ. Instead, your mind may be filled with your children and spouse and your property. In your mind there is no Christ; rather, there are just yourself and things that are outside of Christ. You have shut Christ outside the door of your mind. Therefore, although He is in your spirit, He is suffering because He cannot get into your mind. This is the real situation of many among us.
TAKING THE MIND OF CHRIST AS OUR MIND TO BEGIN LIVING CHRIST
If you love the Lord, you should say, “O Lord, I want to take Your mind as my mind. Now I am thinking about my spouse, my children, my studies, and my work. Lord, I don’t want to consider them according to my mind. I want You to come into my mind to be its contents so that I may think according to Your mind.” This is to live Christ. To begin living Christ is to let the mind of Christ be your mind and consider everything that is related to you, including any person, matter, and thing, according to the mind of Christ. In this way Christ can enter and occupy your mind, and you can take His mind as your mind.
ALLOWING CHRIST TO ENTER INTO OUR EMOTION AND WILL
Furthermore, Christ will gradually enter into your emotion and will. Before Christ enters into your emotion, whatever you love, you love according to your own preference and not according to Christ’s preference. In your love, in your emotion, there is no Christ. Likewise, in your will there is also no Christ. You decide whatever you want, and whatever you say counts; you are the directing one. You make proposals, but in your proposals there is no Christ. Yet when Christ enters into you, His intention is not merely to be in you but to make His home in your heart. His desire is to gradually take over and saturate every part of your heart. Our experience tells us that when we are filled with Him, He is real and living and can freely make His home in our mind, emotion, and will. At this stage, He is everywhere in our being. He is in our spirit, and He is also in our soul. Thus, He occupies and saturates our entire being. Now His indwelling us is His making His home in our heart. As a result, we do not live by ourselves but by Him, and we do not live out ourselves but Christ.
This is to take Christ as our life. In this way we are completely and practically joined to Him as one, and it is at this stage that we are truly Christ-men. A real Christ-man is one who not only has Christ in him but one who is also filled and saturated with Christ and through whom Christ is expressed. This is called Christ’s indwelling.
(The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)