I’ve been helping my sister pack and move for the last couple of days. She is leaving behind the place that she has been for a while–her home. As she moves out, really great friends of ours are moving in. So what was her home will be their home for a while. New places all around.
It occurred to me today how much we value the place we call home, and yet how temporary and transitory it all really is. The physical place where we lay our head at night matters much less than the spiritual place in which we dwell.
“I called to the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and put me in a spacious place” (Psalm 118:5, HCSB).
The Hebrew word for place carries the understanding of comfortable, safe, and free. That’s the place we find ourselves in a relationship with Jesus Christ. We come to Him broken, hurt, confused, and bound by sin; He leads us out of that dark place and into His light– a place where we are comforted, safe, and set free. He takes us from a place of distress and leads us into a place of peace in Him.
I don’t know about you, but there’s no place I would rather be than in His presence, regardless of where I lay my head at night. The more we seek Him, the more He reveals Himself to us. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, He leads us to higher places with Him.
“‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground'” (Exodus 3:5, NIV).
Holy ground is a spiritual place. It’s a place of separation from the world and set-apart-ness for God. I believe this is the next place for believers. God doesn’t bring the unholy onto holy ground. Moses had grown in his relationship with the Lord. He had left the splendor of Egypt for the sheep fields of Midian while God was preparing him spiritually. Moses had to come to a place of spiritual maturity before he would be ready to listen and obey what God was calling him to do.
What about you and me? Are we willing to lay aside everything that would keep us from being on holy ground? Are we at a place of spiritual growth and maturity that will make us responsive to the call of God on our lives?
God told Moses to take off his shoes. Are we willing to be stripped of our rights to follow Jesus wherever He calls us?
The greatest obstacle to the holy place for you and me is sin. We may desire to be spiritually mature, but the mark of maturity is fruit. We have to learn how to have victory over sin. Let me tell you why that is so important. Because there is another place we can be, and that is where we give the devil a place in our lives.
“‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
That Greek word translated foothold is literally “place.” We cannot walk in sin and stay in the holy place. Sin gives Satan a place to operate in our lives instead. He may not be able to possess a Christian, but he can certainly cause division, strife, pain, confusion, and turmoil in our lives. We need to repent quickly of sin and seek to live surrendered to the Holy Spirit of God.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
We will stumble at times, but the key is to confess our sins to God, acknowledge His authority and right to rule us, and seek more of Him. He will bring us to that holy place of His presence where we will find love, joy, and perfect peace. Because ultimately, we were’t made for this place anyway. We were made to be seated in heavenly places with Him.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6, NKJV).
When we are in Christ, we are in our true place–the one we were created for–the place we can truly call home.