I stood at the edge of the room, overwhelmed with the grandeur. I’d received the invitation, but couldn’t believe I should have.
As my eyes scanned the magnificent room, it was obvious that royalty presided here. Lofty arches, splendid tapestries, and fresco paintings lined the walls. Gilded sconces bordered the edges, reflecting light from the carefully placed mirrors of ornate gold-leaf. I shielded my eyes from the brilliance as I looked upward to the lofty ceiling where multiple, magnificent chandeliers hung, heavily laden with brilliant diamonds and carefully-cut crystal. Everything within my vision spoke of untold wealth and unlimited resources.
Pushed back along the marble walls were heavily carved but unused chairs, crafted long ago from some exotic wood. As I marveled, I noticed that although many attendants stood in hushed tones around the perimeter, only two individuals sat on expansive thrones, presiding in regal majesty and resplendent glory from an elevated platform. Above them, a singular crown hovered overhead, a perfect replica of the ones worn by the aristocracy below. Jewels without number studded their crowns, blazing with flashes of rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and topaz as if ignited from their own inner fire.
My pupils widened as I grappled to take in the opulence of the scene. Despite the extravagance of the view, the royalty themselves were what soon riveted my attention. Both King and his Prince wore snowy robes that trained into the room, glittering and radiant from a splendid, unknown fabric, stitched with threads like pure gold. Although stately in appearance, the two were somehow personable as well, as if they truly enjoyed one another’s company. Intent together, they discussed matters of state, pausing to ponder and nod before resuming with a touch of a sleeve.
I guess there is truth about the power of a gaze, for although I remained tucked into the background, I caught the Prince’s eye and he shifted to look directly at me. The whispers around me silenced as all attention turned my way. Caught inadequate, my knees went limp and I dropped trembling to the ground, in a prostate position. I knew I shouldn’t have come.
For the longest moment of my life, I lay quivering, trying to pray. Then a hand touched my shoulder and gave me the strength somehow to stand. Assuming I was being ejected, I kept my head down, to avoid further humiliation.
Yet, instead of rough jerk, a gentle hand cupped my chin, raising my face to eye level. There before me was the Prince himself with eyes burning from a flame of love. “Come, My sister,” He said and gripped my shaking hand with His firm, steady one. As if in a dream, we moved toward His throne and He motioned for me to take a place beside Him on His own cushioned seat. Confused and keenly aware of my own glaring imperfections, I looked into the King’s face, searching His for disapproval.
“Relax, My child,” the King smiled, nodding His approval. “Bring her a regal robe of wisdom, righteousness, and holiness,” and within minutes, I was clothed like royalty itself. As I marveled at my new position there between the two of them, they leaned forward and continued the dialog of which I was now included. “We were just talking about your world,” the King said directly to me. “Would you like to join us?”
“God… seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus…who is at the right Hand of God, interceding for us” (Ephesians 2:6; Romans 8:34).
If this says what I think it says, this changes everything. I read it again just to make sure.
“God…seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
I grew up in the church. I knew that Jesus sat at the right hand of the throne of God. He went there when He left the earth after resurrection. This was general church knowledge.
But Jesus having a place for me on His self-same throne? No one had talked to me about this before.
As I checked other references I found that “in Christ” (up there — in the heavenly places), there is:
• Hope (Romans 15:2)
• Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:2)
• Freedom (Galatians 2:4)
• Truth (Ephesians 4:12; John 14:6)
• Encouragement (Philippians 2:1)
• Faith (2 Timothy 1:13)
• Power (Ephesians 1:13,19)
Just the things that I need! Yet, here inside of me, these things were sparse. I’m seldom hopeful. Rarely encouraged. And hardly ever empowered.
Maybe that is the problem. Maybe I’m looking for these spiritual things in the wrong place. Maybe they aren’t found merely in me at all, but only up there, in me when I am in Christ.
What if I were to truly take my mind’s eye off the me (here and now) and fix it on Jesus? What if I were to sincerely “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1)?
The Word testifies that up there, in Him, there is:
• No judgement (John 3:18)
• No condemnation (Romans 8:1)
• No unrighteousness (John 7:18)
• No guilt (John 18:38;19:4,6)
• No disappointment (Romans 9:33;10:11)
But I testify, that down here in me, I’m always judging myself, condemning myself, guilting myself and disappointing myself. Probably because I have such a hard time seeing myself as the righteousness of God.
Look at where the righteousness of God is found: “In Him, we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV). My righteousness is only found when I look up there — in Him.
My spiritual blessings are found up there — in Him (Ephesians 1:3).
God’s will for me is found up there — in Him (Ephesians 1:9).
Intimacy with God is found up there — in Him (Ephesians 2:13).
I’ve been looking in the wrong place for all these promises. They aren’t found in me. They are found up there — in Christ.
So if I set my mind and emotions up there in Christ, what about my body still living in the here and now?
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Indeed, the Father, the Son and the Spirit are One. But as I set my mind and emotions up there, in Christ, and see the “shell” of my body remaining “here,” the Holy Spirit must take charge. I’ve taken my hands off. Galatians 2:20 takes on a whole new meaning, “The life which I now live in the flesh (shell), I live by faith in the Son of God.”
I set my mind up there in Christ — I “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18) — I “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1). Once I realize I am there, I can effectively release the responsibilities left to this shell of my body. The Holy Spirit must effect these activities because “I” am not here. I’m up there — in Christ!
“Hallelujah, O God. By Your doing, I’ve been put in Christ Jesus! (1 Corinthians 1:30). You’ve placed me there, now my responsibility is to remember my location in You. “Abide in Me,” You commanded (John 15:4). Yes, my Father, I want to abide. I faithe my position up there in Christ. I recognize that only in Him can I be held together without falling apart (Colossians 1:17) — only in Him can my heart and mind know peace (Philippians 4:7) — only in Him can I be truly at home (Ephesians 3:17 NLT).
So now, as I set my mind here in this place with You, I leave Your Holy Spirit to manage the shell of my body. See through my eyes, speak through my tongue, touch through my hands. I’m not going to be here, so You are in charge. I’m taking vacation — up there — resting in Christ!”