“Do you have a minute?”
The young woman at the mall kiosk approached eagerly, hoping to entice passerbys with her product. As I glanced at her small booth, I noticed the slick display included everything needed for renewed energy. Everything that is, except a chair.
As I skirted past her counter, I remembered a Biblical work place without available seating. Adorned with a gilded, golden lamp stand and life-sized angels guarding the mysterious mercy seat, the temple never provided chairs for it’s ministers. “Every priest stands daily,” says the writer of Hebrews (10:11).
The girl at the mall kiosk stood because her employer wanted to make sure she remained busy. The absence of proper seating in the tabernacle was for a slightly, different reason. Their priests simply never completed the work. “Every priest stands daily…offering…the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11). They never got finished.
Day after day. Month after month. Year after year, they kept the rules. But, “the Law…never by the same (continual) sacrifices year by year…(made) perfect” (Hebrews 10:1). Obviously, regulating religion wasn’t the balm for a clear conscience (Hebrews 9:9). So, over and again, the priests continued their endless task, upright on their feet.
All that standing kinda wears you out, doesn’t it?
But notice the difference when Jesus ministered. “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins…sat down” (Hebrews 10:12). He has perfected “for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). “It is finished!” He announced (John 19:30). Your sin problem has been resolved permanently. Your guilt has been eliminated for all time. And when He returns for us, He is appearing “a second time for salvation without reference to sin” (Hebrews 9:28). Hallelujah!
It was the “obedience of the One” that made us righteous, not our own rigid adherence of the law (Romans 5:19). So, even though I know that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh”, I still have reason to shout out my thanks to God (Romans 7:18, 25). I still mess up, but “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Isn’t that great news?
Today, the Jewish priests are still standing at the temple to minister. The lady is probably still standing at the kiosk at the mall. But, praise the Lord, Jesus has sat down at the right Hand of the Father. “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3). No matter what your situation says, “let us hope fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Let’s believe!
Holy Father, Thank You for embodying the complete character of Love (1 John 4:16). In the midst of this crazy generation, we need desperately to see past the present and gaze into the eternal. As I remember Your everlasting Presence today, remind me of the unsearchable qualities of Your love. * You are patient with me (1 Corinthians 13:4). You wait as I dawdle. You guide as I hesitate. You carefully urge me along without exasperating over my immaturity (Ephesians 6:4). As I interact with others, may Your patience flow from me to them. * You are kind to me (1 Corinthians 13:4). You act benevolently, always offering Yourself to me as an ever-present help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). You comfort when I hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3). You rejoice when I faith (Zephaniah 3:17). Your kindness always draws me back to You (Romans 2:4). As I communicate with others, may Your kindness extend from me to them. * You do not boil over with envy, hatred or jealousy toward me (1 Corinthians 13:4). Your beef with me ended when I faithed You (Hebrews 10:17). That is all You expected. You knew I couldn’t keep the Law (James 2:10). You have changed me from the inside out and given me Your Spirit in exchange for my own (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have put Your God seed within me so that I no longer enjoy sin (1 John 3:9). It’s not my nature now. And even when I do mess up, Your forgiveness absorbs the action as it happens without condemnation (Hebrews 10:14; Romans 8:1). As I interface with others, may Your same forgiveness spill over through me into their lives. * You’ve done everything for me through Christ and yet You remain humble about it (1 Corinthians 13:4). You emptied Yourself for me, so that I could understand You (Philippians 2:7). You are not puffed up and braggadocios about what You are doing in my life. I can worship You without You getting a big head about it. Instead of narcissistically patting Yourself on the back, You spend Your time building me up (1 Corinthians 8:1). As I meet others, may Your same humility extend to them through me. * You never act unbecoming (1 Corinthians 13:5). You only do what is fitting and appropriate. And often even that is hidden away from my view (Isaiah 45:15). How unsearchable are Your judgments and unfathomable Your ways (Romans 11:33)! You are far greater than my imagination or finite understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). As I make contact with others, may Your appropriate actions in every situation work through me outward. * You never demand Your own way in my life (1 Corinthians 13:5). You stand at the door of my heart and knock. You request entrance into my mind and emotions rather than barging in (Revelation 3:20). You call me and lead me, but never with a heavy hand (John 10:4). Turn my affections into a willingness to obey (Luke 12:36). As I speak with others, may I extend Your same gentleness to them. * You are not irritated or provoked with me (1 Corinthians 13:5). This I truly cannot understand. I irritate myself! Yet, You — the God of the universe — are not provoked at me. Amazing. You don’t despise me and aren’t even sharp with me. Any stabs and jabs I hear are from the accuser (Zechariah 3:1). No, You have given me peace with You (Romans 5:1). You don’t just love me, but You really like me as well. You are okay with me! Hallelujah. As I deal with others, may I accept them like You accept me. * Now that You have forgiven me, You no longer measure my faults (1 Corinthians 13:5). That account book is closed. My individual debts are paid up and there is no outstanding balance on any of my accounts (Psalm 103:12)! You can’t even remember what my sins were in the first place (Hebrews 8:12)! Yes, O Lord, as I identify with others may I offer them the same forgetfulness of wrongs that You gave me (John 20:23). * Since You can’t remember my unrighteousness, You spend Your time in focusing on the righteousness of Christ in me (1 Corinthians 13:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Every time that righteousness wins a skirmish, You are there, cheering me on (Zephaniah 3:17). You congratulate me when I understand a fragment of Your truth. You take a hands-on approach to share my joy. As I interface with others, may Your rejoicing stretch out to them through me. *You bear all my weakness, believe in my strengths, hope in my future, and endure all of my past. Your Love is perfect, unconditional and complete (1 John 4:18). I do not have to fear You because You aren't going to punish me. You took care of the punishment for me (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 10:4; Hebrews 10:18, Isaiah 53:4-5). Your Love has a breadth, a length, a height and a depth that cannot be measured (Ephesians 3:18). May I respond in going forth in this very messed-up world to share You, my mysterious Love. .