Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18)

During those tumultuous pre-teen and early teen years, I wasn't sure I wanted to live.  Though my childhood could be described as "normal" (as "normal" as life can be, I guess, without the Lord!), puberty struck like a tsunami.  My height shot up and my weight missed the memo and stayed the same.  I was about 6' 2" and 120 lb. at one point.  With a skeleton for a body, acne on my face and braces on my teeth, I was the butt of jokes, a convenient target for ridicule to take the spotlight off other insecure youth.  I didn't feel like I belonged and so suicide became a pleasant mode of fantasy, though I never actually attempted to take my life.

Years later, I realized that a good summary "name" or "label" for how I was viewed (and how I viewed myself) during those awful years was outcast.  Looking back on those days, if someone were to come to me now with one of those "Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes" checks for $1 million and told me, "This can all be yours...on one condition:  You have to live out your junior high years again!", I would tell them, "No thanks!  Keep your money!!"  Maybe you can relate.

Before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, the Jewish people were "in", the Gentiles were...well, largely outcasts.  Not so much in God's eyes, but in the eyes of the Jewish nation.  But Jesus changed all that.  His death broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile as it was breaking down the dividing wall (the veil of the temple) between man and God.

So now, in Christ, there is no distinction in terms of acceptability to God or access to the Father.  That's what Paul meant when he wrote, "Here there is no Greek [Gentile] or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all" (Colossians 3:11).  As Ephesians 2:18 says, we all have direct access to God...into the very Holy of Holies...through the Holy Spirit, because of what Christ has done for us.

Ever feel like an outsider?  Ever feel like an outcast, like you don't belong?  Maybe you have even felt that way as a Christian...that somehow the church is for others, but not for you.  Not so!  You have as much right to come to God as Billy Graham or Charles Stanley or any other Christian leader you see as "worthy."  You...yes you...have direct access (you don't have to go through anyone but Jesus!) to God the Father through the Holy Spirit.  You have the right to come into the presence of God along with all your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Why don't you take advantage of that direct access today and go spend some time with your loving heavenly Father who delights in you?  His scepter is extended toward you today, warmly welcoming you into His presence. 

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