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The Manger of the Heart..... December 20, 2020

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger. Luke 2:7 ESV

I am guessing that you have never thought of your heart as a manger. I am making this comparison because when thinking about the manger, I think about a place that wasn’t the cleanest place for a baby to be born. After all, it was a place from which animals would eat, and I’m sure the animals did what animals do, making it a most unpleasant place for a mother to give birth. The reason for this birthplace was simple..... because there was no room in the places that were considered clean. The comparison between your heart and the manger is this —— Jesus was born in the flesh, in a barn and laid in a manger where it wasn't anything that one would dare call clean. The heart is where a spiritual birth takes place and, as the manger, is not the cleanest place, for it is filled with the stench of sin. Yet it is where the Holy Spirit enters when a person is born again. As the lamb of God was born and laid in the manger so the Spirit of God is born into the heart of a person. In a similar way to the innkeeper making available the manger, so a person makes available their heart to the Spirit of God. It is an interesting thought that a heart that might consider itself clean has no room for the Spirit of God. How might our hearts be compared in other ways to the manger in which Jesus was laid?

Empty: The manger in which Jesus was laid on that wonderful night was just one of many mangers that were in Bethlehem, but all the other mangers were empty of the birth of God’s presence. So it is for all the hearts in this world that are without the presence of the Holy Spirit ..... empty. However, the manger in which Jesus was laid was a manger full of life the like of which the world had never known. So it is for all the hearts in this world that are filled with and born in the Spirit. That heart experiences life abundantly because of Jesus. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b ESV. If Jesus came that we might have abundant life, then to be without him would simply be a life/heart that is empty.

Ordinary: The manger in which Jesus was laid was just an ordinary manger until .... Jesus. It was the manger to which the shepherds came, to see that which was told to them by the angel and the host of heaven saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14 ESV The heart, as the manger, is just ordinary until the presence of God fills it. When the heart is filled, then it becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV. God takes that which is ordinary and makes it extraordinary. He did it with a manger, and he does it with the heart in which he dwells.

Lifeless: There was much going on in Bethlehem the day Jesus was born and placed in the manger, but it was all lifeless in that when the census was completed, it would go back to whatever was considered normal. However, with the birth of Jesus into the world, there was nothing about him that was lifeless or normal. The world would never be normal again, for the creator of life had become life in the flesh and would make eternal life available for all. Our hearts....much like Bethlehem, many times buzzes with activity, but when all that caused the activity is gone, it goes back to lifelessness / normal. However, the heart that has experienced a Spiritual birth... WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN.

Application: Don’t live empty, ordinary, and lifeless lives as Christians. If you belong to Jesus... Live your life giving evidence of the Spirit of God placed in the manger of your heart. Let your life be an expression of the extraordinary Spirit of God living inside you. Never let your life be as one who lives without hope in a lifeless state. I challenge all who are born again to live a life that proclaims “Glory to God in the highest”

If you have not asked God to be born in your heart then I ask you today, to make available the manger of your heart, that your life may never be empty, ordinary nor lifeless. As the wise men brought gifts to Jesus, I ask and encourage you to bring him your heart. It is the reason he came... “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David