Come on in

Mom taught me to leave the house "presentable" - be sure you wear clean underwear, comb your hair, brush your teeth - just a few of the 'rules of being presentable' that were reiterated when I was a youngster. I honestly has carried through into my adulthood, but I am probably less worried about the things that are habit now - like brushing my teeth and putting on clean underwear. It also doesn't mean I always dress up, but I don't go out in my PJs or with hair all askew! There are times when I am in the middle of a build in the shop and realize I will need a few more screws, the right size nail, or an extra piece of lumber. I don't always change out of my 'shop clothes', but I at least wash my hands, run a brush through my hair, and brush off as much of the sawdust as possible. Silly, isn't it, how much we focus on the external as our "view" of being presentable? Most of us forget there is much more importance in being 'presentable' on the inside!

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into "the Holy Place." Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The "curtain" into God's presence is his body. So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:19-25)

Presentable INSIDE and OUT! This should be our goal! Jesus knows exactly what we are like - it doesn't matter how we "dress up" ourselves - he knows us inside and out! Amazingly, he loves us exactly as he knows us! Don't we wish everyone operated that way - loving us exactly as we are? Most of the time, we don't let people get close enough to us to know us that well, though. We 'guard' our hearts and keep that level of personal knowledge of our character 'reserved' for just a few. As a child of God, there is no hesitation in approaching God when we do it through relationship with Jesus. Just as every home needs a doorway by which we enter, so freedom of access to God is through the blood sacrifice of Jesus. There is no other way to God EXCEPT through Christ. It is this relationship which gives us the boldness to enter into God's presence - no longer fearful of what he sees when he looks upon us. Why? Simply because he sees Jesus when he looks upon us - he sees us, but he sees us the way Jesus has made us!

We often hesitate to enter God's presence because of some guilt over past or recent sin (kind of like when we have hair all askew, wrinkly clothes, and don't want to be seen in public). The truth of the matter is God already knows about our sin and he has provided a way of "covering" for our sin - the blood of Jesus. We need not avoid contact with God simply because we have sinned - in fact, we need to confess our sin and move right up close to God for his healing touch! The confidence of being fully presentable (inside and out) is something we need to appropriate in our lives. We live far below our potential when we listen to our own mind's arguments of our "worth" or "value". The very thing which gives us supreme value is Christ in us! There is no other action which makes us "more presentable". The good news is the "clean-up" has begun! We come to Christ with all our "baggage" of past hurts, wrong actions, and selfish deeds. He takes them, one-by-one, and replaces them with the touch of his grace. We need a firm grip on what keeps us "centered". Plainly put, this is the Word of God. The more we allow the Word to get INTO us, the more it will affect what comes OUT of us (inside and out affected). No amount of effort is more rewarded than the time we take getting the Word into our lives.

The good news is we don't walk alone - we have been given each other to spur one another on. No race is easy to run! In fact, whenever we "ramp up" our momentum, there are usually multiple obstacles to overcome - things get in our way, making it more and more difficult to remain true to our convictions. This makes it all the more important to not run alone! We need each other! A spur "digs in" and causes the one being spurred to become acutely aware of the action required. It is good to have others who will alert us to the need for action and to assist us in "ramping up" when we need to! So, dirt and all, don't be afraid to enter his presence! Who knows - maybe his touch will leave you with so much inward beauty you won't care about those dirty garments any longer! Just sayin!

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