HOW DOES JESUS “LIVE” IN OUR HEARTS?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Many years ago, this writer posted on the internet, “Jesus lives in my heart by faith.” A scoffer replied with the following: “So, if I were to cut open your heart, would I find a little ‘Jesus’ inside it?” Such is the stupidity of the lost man: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Unless we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Scriptures will be utter nonsense to us. Man’s sinful heart prevents him from understanding and enjoying forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour can most certainly comprehend and rejoice in such simple truths. Ephesians 3:17 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,….” How exactly does Christ dwell in our hearts by faith?
As always, we look at the context. This is part of the Apostle’s Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 3 of the Book that bears their name: “ Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Christ will dwell in our hearts (verse 17) once we are “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (verse 16). The Holy Spirit will fortify us by using His inspired, preserved Word. In the words of Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The Bible is spiritual food; without a daily intake through personal reading and study, our spiritual body deteriorates. Although it frequently happens, we absolutely (!) cannot (!) afford to “skip meals!” Unless we are on a steady diet of sound Bible doctrine—the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), dispensationally delivered and believed—we will become susceptible to all sorts of spiritual diseases (heresies and apostasies). This is precisely why the professing “Church” is so spiritually immature and impotent now! “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14).
When we realize that Paul is our Apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us, and we understand the Dispensation of the Grace of God was entrusted to him (Ephesians 3:2), then we will pay close attention to the Pauline Bible Books of Romans through Philemon. They describe in great detail Jesus Christ’s very life in this the Dispensation of Grace. It is not merely God wanting us to copy Christ, mimicking or imitating Him. Such would be nothing more than hypocrisy or fakery—and there is already plenty of that in so-called “Christianity!” No, God wants to fill us with the very life of Jesus Christ because He has already given us the very life of Jesus Christ.
Read the Book of Romans, especially the first eight chapters—concentrating heavily on chapter 6. Continue reading on through until you reach Philemon, and you will have covered all 13 Pauline epistles. There is God’s life for you, friend. Once you believe in your heart those verses, the Holy Spirit will take them and use them to work in your heart. “For with the heart man believed unto righteousness,” Romans 10:10 says, in part. The doctrine you read and believed will then flow from your heart (invisible) and out to your daily conduct (visible). If you have truly believed in your heart (and not just your head!), the Word of God’s Grace will be on display in your life… and it will really be Jesus Christ’s life.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).