Tickell Expressions

Friday, 1 July 2016

I am a Heavenly Citizen

July's theme in the Take Me Deeper group at His Kingdom Come is "I am a Heavenly Citizen". The verse I focused on is Ephesians chapter 2, verse 6:

"For God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

Gee, that sounds nice, but what does it mean? I went back to chapter 1 and sat for a while with verses 19-21. Here they are in the Passion Translation:

"Yes, my prayer for you is that every moment you will experience the measureless power of God made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! This is the resurrection power that was released through Christ when God raised him from the dead. This resurrection power raised us up and seated us with him at his place of supreme authority in the heavenly realm!"

It is important to note that Paul was writing this letter to the believers at the church of Ephesus. We don't know most of their names, but most of them were not pastors, elders or leaders. They were ordinary folks just like you and me. And they had moment by moment access, through faith, to the measureless power of God, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.

So why don't I see that power at work in my own daily life? Rare are the occasions when I have prayed for someone and they were healed; and I have never raised anyone from the dead.

Once a man told my husband and I about a back injury that had put him out of work and forced him to live on a pension. Joy bubbled up inside of me and I nearly blurted out, "Oh, we can pray for you and you will be healed." Nearly.

I stuffed it down, telling myself I had been watching too many Todd White videos. Besides, what if nothing happened? Wouldn't it be worse for everyone if he didn't get healed? And then what kind of crazies would he think we were? By the time I had hashed all of this through in my mind, the man was talking about something else. I figured the moment had passed and it was probably just my imagination anyway. Or was it? I will never know.

When the early Christians began experiencing persecution they did something rather unusual, which reminds me of how David ran towards Goliath. They asked God for boldness. Here is Acts 4:29-31 in the Passion Translation:

"So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us and empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!

At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble. Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness."

If you go back to Acts 2 you will realize that these believers were some of the 3,000 people who believed on Jesus on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first released. These were ordinary church folk, like you and me.

When I read that we are seated with Christ in heavenly realms, my imagination conjures up a bunch of chairs, like in church, and people hanging out. But the word seated, in this context, is referring to a position of authority. We are seated with Christ. We have the authority to preach the word, with signs following, (Mark 16:17-18) through our position with Christ and access to the power of God through faith in Christ.

The only thing I seem to lack is that boldness ingredient and that is apparently easy to obtain. I merely have to follow the example of the early Christians and ask for it. I have personalized their prayer that you can say along with me. I had to push passed a lump of fear just to pray this, but you are probably braver than I am.

"So now, Lord, empower me, as your servant, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through me to heal, and to move in signs and wonders, by the name of your Holy Son, Jesus!"

I recorded the verse in my scripture memorization journal and did a little art on the facing page.
Going Deeper:
Read Mark 16:15-20

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