Saturday, June 8, 2013

Here, There, And Everywhere

     God's grace as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ transformed the Old Testament emphasis on place and proximitinto the New Testament wonder of presence and the personal.

Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and Ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him" (John 4:20-23).
Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).
    "Stand fast in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1).

    In Christ, standing on "holy ground" gave way to standing in our holy God Himself.  We worship in spirit and in truth rather than in a mountain, or even at Jerusalem.  Indeed, the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit given to all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ provides the 24/7 presence of the personal God who desires that we know Him here, there, and everywhere.  "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16). 

    Our son Noah illustrated this truth when he was little more than five years old.  In a kindergarten class, the subject of church came up.  "That's where you go to be with God" said a little girl.  Noah immediately chimed in.  "Actually," he said, "if we believe in Jesus, God is with us everywhere, not only at church."  The little theologian was absolutely right.  While our gatherings with believers provide a blessed and necessary element of the Christian life, we must not leave God in the church building, as it were.  His pervasive presence both with and within us is too great a gift to limit, and true worship for the believer calls us to expect God no less in one place than in another.  "I will look for Him" declared the prophet, whom we should join in the expectation of God here, there, and everywhere (Isaiah 8:17).

    Of course, we all likely have special places in our lives and memories where experiences of our Lord shine brightly in our memories and in our present experience.  This is fine, and we may freely enjoy and give thanks for such venues of grace.  However, let us not think of them as holier ground than the spot we presently occupy.  Yes, the Spirit of Christ lives in us, we live in Him, and we stand forevermore not on holy ground, but in our holy God.  Remembrance and affirmation of such truth will go far in fostering a life lived in the glory of God here, there, and everywhere...

"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:11)

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