My husband had just accepted the pastorate of a fine church and we were eager to be present and active on the field. The church had (until now) no house for their pastorium but had recently wisely purchased a comfortable home from an older member who was no longer physically able to keep house for herself. The decision was made to proceed with redecorating at once and we were soon happily settled in. However, there was a small problem. The former owner was not satisfactorily settled in her new home; she hadn't found a place for all her personal possessions. The agreement was reached that she could keep some of her things in a back bedroom and would retain the key to that room and only she could enter that room. We would have complete use of the rest of the roomy house. At first, things went smoothly, but as days and weeks passed little irritations developed. In the midst of my daily household chores or meal preparation, or just as I stepped into the bathtub, or as we sat down to dinner or a pleasant evening at home, there would come a knock at the door and there would stand this dear lady. Invited in, she would apologetically enter and quietly go down the long hall, unlock the door, enter "her" room and lock the door behind her. Sometimes her visits were brief; sometimes rather lengthy. Finally she was able to move all of her belongings to her new home and we had our home to ourselves. I am sure this arrangement was as distasteful to her as it was inconvenient to us, and we all tried to exhibit grace and patience during this time. However, it is far from the ideal home life situation.
We naturally desire full control of our home space. Sadly, too often we treat the Lord the same way. We assign Him a small back room, or a corner or an upstairs out of sight closet and say, "Lord, you may come and go here just as you please, but the rest of my heart belongs to me." Or we graciously throw open the door of our heart and say, "Welcome, Lord. Make yourself at home. My heart belongs to You. Except, Lord, for that tiny little room in the back of my heart. I know You won't mind if I keep the key to that room; I have a few personal things I keep in there." There is an old saying: "If He isn't Lord of all He isn't Lord at all." I must keep constant guard on my heart to make sure I don't keep a locked closet on un-yielded areas of my life because I want the Lord Jesus to have full and welcome access to every nook and corner of my life, to move and re-arrange my life to His pleasure and will. I want Him to have first place in my heart and life.