God doesn't live in the church; He is not someone that we go to visit on Sundays like we might visit our grandmother. Yes, He used to dwell in the Tabernacle and the Temple, but as we said yesterday, even that was different than how we conceptualize things today.
And of course, once we get to the New Testament, we know that Jesus lives inside our hearts. We know this because of all the fun little songs that we sing with our children. We know this because the New Testament tells us that we are living sacrifices, that our bodies are the new temple of the Lord. But we know this most simply because Jesus Himself tells us this - He will live in us as we live in Him. He is the vine, and we are the branches. The most very fundamental understanding of the Christian (and thus, Christ-centered, New Testament) faith is that Jesus lives in us.
We say this because we know that it is true. It even sounds true. It sounds good and holy and like exactly the kind of thing that God would want - a dwelling place inside our hearts. If we're being honest, though, our execution of living like Jesus lives in us...leaves a lot to be desired.
I don't know how much time you spend around other persons, or how often you go out into public, but it doesn't take a whole lot of interaction or even just looking around to realize that there are not a lot of folk living like Jesus lives inside of them. There are not a lot of us living like Jesus dwells in our hearts.
The Bible tells us that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Jesus tells us that out of the good inside of him, the good man brings out good.
Then we cuss out the kid working the counter at the coffeeshop because our espresso is too weak. We yell at the cashier for not working quickly enough to get us through the line. We grumble at the person who steps in front of us to reach the item we're standing mindlessly in front of. We step in front of someone standing mindlessly because we are impatient.
We live in a culture that, even when we run into our friends, we say something cheeky, something insulting. Then laugh it off as if it's all in good fun. I have even heard elders of a church tear one another down "in jest," but also very much in public, as if it's some kind of joke that we're all supposed to laugh at.
We live in a culture of self at all costs, and our actions and our words show exactly that. At any given moment, almost every single one of us is thinking more of ourselves than we are of Jesus. Which leads us to ask the question - does He really live inside of you?
Is Jesus really dwelling in your heart? Does He take up residence there? Have you created the space for Him?
We say that Jesus lives in us because we know that it is true. We know that it is the way our Christian faith works. We know that it is what He said. But He doesn't force His way there; we have to make space for Him. And...looking at our lives, at the way we live and talk with one another, most of us haven't made much space at all.
So it's not in our hearts that God is living, either.