Find your seats, folks!
I’ve spent all my life trying to be somebody special. I’ve fantasized about the day my life would reach its apex of recognition. I exhausted myself and battled feelings of jealousy as others achieved. Though I was already a Christian, even ordained into ministry with the title of “Reverend,” something was missing from my understanding of Jesus, and it kept me focused on myself instead of him. I didn’t fully understand who I was.
As an avid sports fan, I’ve always envied people who have 50-yard line seats. One day, after asking the Holy Spirit to lead my Bible study time (as I always do and suggest), the invitation arrived — to sit at the “head table.” I was studying in one of my three favorite books, Ephesians, chapter 2:4-7, where Paul carefully and grandly shares how we have been “made alive in Christ.” I thought of what I like to call my “salvation now” which begins on this earth before I die. Black and white printing came off the page, into my mind heart as I hope it will for you: “God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms … in order that he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us.” (vss. 6-7)
Do you know, fully, who you are? If you’re a believer, you’re invited, called to take your place at a table for winners – victors over life’s circumstances as well as people. King David shared in the great Psalm 23 that it is even “in the presence of your enemies (vs. 5).”
As I did my Greek study and considered that little verb “seated” more closely, I was astonished that it was indeed a past tense verb. Being seated with Christ has already happened to us; it is already true in this present moment.
I paused and closed my eyes. I thought of watching famous people sitting courtside as I at Lakers basketball games. Then, I pictured myself in an honor seat, next to Jesus. As I thought about Jesus and imagined us there together, I felt something I had never experienced before: I was already seated at the table I’d been longing for. The sense of belonging, security, and love overwhelmed me. I understood I could stop fighting for a seat — that I could stop waiting for my glamorous life to begin. It was already happening.
Paul somehow experienced this spiritual truth even though, in his physical reality, he was perhaps the farthest a man could be from a comfortable and abundant royal table. The apostle was in one of the worst seats imaginable: a disgusting and humiliating Roman prison.
As the months turn into years, I keep visualizing my seat with Jesus. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you have full access to God’s love, power, peace, hope, and provision. Know who you are and where you are. From his prison cell Paul adds, “Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above … where Christ is seated” (Col. 3:1) No more need to be fighting to be special – you’re being escorted into the place in life he has planned for you. It’s better than a “front row seat.”
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.