Crowded-new The whole nasty neighborhood seems to come in some days.  Pride is a frequent visitor.  He talks a lot and looks down on others… and no, he's not the best guest.  Then there are Selfish and Grumpy, who always seem to show up together and demand to crash over for a bit.  They have a habit of overstaying their welcome.  Ah, there is also Pleasure.  She's nice to have over, for a while at least, but then the perfume and makeup wear off and she emits a nauseous odor and turns hideously ugly.  Foolish can really get a party going… but he can be really annoying.  Who invited him anyways?  He seems to always be around when these others are.  Jealousy is over by the fridge, eating everything so that no one else will.  Hard-Heart and Lies come in later, after things have died down a bit.  They're no fun and they drain the life away from everyone.  On the couch, asleep, is Apathy.  Oh yeah, he's full of joy.  Inevitably, Darkness and Despair come mingling in, late, when everyone is tired.

Why do we let these characters have free space in our hearts?!   Why do we let these freeloaders steal from our soul?  They don't pay rent.  They eat everything up.  They don't fix what they break.  They make a mess of our souls and they don't take responsibility when trouble comes.  They blame and they hurt and they don't care about us at all.  They attack and cramp up our hearts.

Colossians 3:5 says to send these crashers away.  Don't let them in.  But if they've found their way in, then use force as necessary to drive them off.  In their place, fill your life with Christ.  In stunning contrast, Colossians 3:15-16 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

Kick the crashers out so that the creative, life-giving, light of Christ can live within you.   His Peace will restore your soul and annoint you with blessing, even while all those nasty characters look on.  His Word will breathe life into you, lift you up, give you laughter and joy.  Both will give you confidence and strength and teach you to sing.  In exchange for letting him live within you, God rewards you abundantly, overflowingly, eternally with life.

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