It’s called the Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila. The inner place where the essence of who we are resides.
In the Hebrew scriptures it’s referred to as “lebab,” meaning the heart; the inner part; the seat of appetites, emotions and passions; the middle or core of ourselves. We often refer to it as the soul.
Since it’s not something we can grasp with our physical fingers, it’s easy to ignore.
We like to shove it down with all its silly emotions and desires, its hopes and dreams and crazy ideas. Life is demanding enough just from a physical standpoint.
But to ignore the cry of the soul is to merely exist, not to live. . . certainly not to live the way God intended when he fashioned us out of clay and breathed life into our being.
A Lonely Place, the Heart
Here’s the thing, though. This inner room of ours can be a lonely place. It’s where we store up all those past hurts, shame, guilt, and disappointments. It’s no tropical island destination.
It is, however, the place where — if we are believers in Jesus — His Spirit comes to dwell, to take up residence. The Bible often uses the word “abide.”
It simply means that Jesus makes His home in us. Within the walls of our interior castle. And He shines His light into all our dark corners.
The castle imagery makes me smile. It brings to mind the idea not only of majesty, but also of fortification. I think of a stronghold, a place with impenetrable walls. And this is precisely what scripture tells us.
That God is our refuge and strength, a present help in times of trouble. He is our stronghold, our shelter, our safe place. His name is a strong tower where His children can seek refuge.
Psalm 46 says this of Israel, which we are adopted into in a spiritual sense if we are Christians: “God is in her midst, she will not fall.”
In Your Midst
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be forgetful. I don’t go about my daily life remembering that God is within these walls of my heart. That things aren’t going to fall to pieces, because He lives there. He rules there.
Like the story of Jesus sleeping in the cabin of the boat, it doesn’t matter what kind of storms are raging all around. He has no intention of letting the boat go under, no matter what kind of tizzy the frightened disciples work themselves into.
One of my favorite verses of all time is Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
The word for “in your midst” is the Hebrew word “quereb.”
It means the interior of a thing. The interior of the heart. In your midst.
God Is In the Middle
What does it mean that the God who created the universe would make His home in my very heart, in my innermost self?
The darling of the world has come,
And fit it is we find a room
To welcome him.
The nobler part
Of all the house here is the heart.”
It changes everything, knowing He is here. He does not leave or wander around outside, leaving us alone to question whether he will return. He is here. Within our midst. In the middle.
We need look no further than the castle of our very own heart to find him.
I tried something new, y’all. I made you some free printables. They aren’t great, but since I’m new at it, I’m hoping you’ll cut me some slack. Anyway, these are 8 x 10 sized prints. They come in the four colors shown below.
You can click on the links below to print them out and frame. . . if you’re so inclined. And of course, I’d love it if you’d pin them to Pinterest!
I hope you enjoy and share!