when you feel a bit left out

When Susie Larson  first interviewed me on her show Faith Radio, I knew I had met kin. I’m an intense introvert — I’ll answer a ringing phone less than a handful of times a year. But when I get off the phone with Susie? Absolutely energized. Because she speaks of Jesus  — exudes Him, loves Him, knows Him, exalts Him. No one ushers you right into a sacred, God-saturated place quite like Susie Larson. Her mentor once told her that she has an up front ministry with a behind-the-scenes heart. Susie will tell you she’s also an introvert, wired for solitude and reflection. And it’s in that place, her passionate, powerful prayer life was born. She’d say that this is the place where she gets the most done in the world. This is the place where God reminds her who she is to Him. And this is the place where her heart beats in rhythm with His which compels her to pray bold, tenacious prayers and to ask for the impossible that the world might profoundly know that God is present, and personal, and loves deeply. It’s a grace to welcome Susie to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Susie Larson

Often when I speak about our identity in Christ, I’ll have two tables on stage:

an orphan table and an heir table.

Picture the orphan table: a rickety, wobbly old table. Next to it is a splintered chair with uneven legs. A stale piece of bread sits on a cracked dinner plate. The very sight of it makes your mouth dry up and your heart ache.

Now picture the heir table: White linen covers the table. A high-back chair displays plush velvet fabric and ornamental cherrywood trim. A crystal vase boasts a bright bouquet of flowers. Polished silverware flanks the decorative china dinnerware.

A satin napkin sits wrapped in a gold embossed napkin ring. An assortment of breads is arranged next to a bowl of fresh fruit. The sparkling wine shimmers in a crystal carafe. All of it makes you wonder what these people do for a living.

Now notice the distinction between these two tables.

Scripture clearly conveys God’s heart for the poor, the orphaned, the misplaced, and the oppressed.

That’s why He asks those of us who have more to give to those who have less. That’s a part of our kingdom call.

Jesus cares about the literal orphans and He wants us to care about them too.

But He also cares deeply about the spiritual orphan.

He didn’t consider His equality with God a thing to be used for His benefit. In fact, He stepped away from His high, privileged position in heaven to meet us right where we live. He came to earth in the womb of a poor, vulnerable teenage girl; He came to us in the very depths of our need.

Jesus treasures the spiritual orphan. That’s why He made a way to adopt us into the family of God. But once we become heirs, He doesn’t want us acting or thinking like left out orphans any longer. Spiritual orphans beg and plead. Heirs pray and believe.

Think about it. What Jesus accomplished on the cross was not simply an invitation to think differently, nor was it a ticket to a hip Christian social club. Here’s the life-changing truth:

Jesus’ triumph over the grave, over sin and death, blew the doors off of the enemy’s claim on us!

And when we trusted Christ to make us alive in Him, the transformative power of the Holy Spirit took up residence in our soul and made us completely brand-new.

The power of the living God altered our spiritual DNA, changed the trajectory of our lives, and activated our spiritual genes so that the impossible could now be possible in and through us. Incredible!

This means we’re not a slightly improved version of ourselves. Our name is written in the Book of Life! We are citizens of heaven. Heirs of God. Joint heirs with Christ.

Consider the imagery of the two tables again.

As heirs of God and part of His family forever, why do we continue to vacillate between these two mind-sets? We sit at the orphan table and beg and plead. And when we’ve performed well, we more easily picture ourselves at the heir table as if we’ve somehow earned such a privileged status.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9–10 NIV

In times of despair, we forget that we’re heirs. In times of favor, we forget why we’re heirs.

When life gets hard, or we’re not performing like the Christian we feel we should be, we see ourselves at the beggar’s table, hoping for a few scraps, thinking we deserve only that much.

We tend to shy away from bold prayer, and we either replace it with a good dose of negative self-talk, or we find ourselves whispering those begging types of prayers that leave us feeling small, not loved or embraced like we actually are.

And, instead of holding on to these two things . . .

  • Identity—firmly established in the finished work of Christ
  • Humility—harnessed strength fueled by the Spirit, empowered by His love

. . . we pick up the virus of spiritual passivity and let it suck the life right out of us.

May you remember today that Jesus’ overwhelming victory on the cross gave you a place at the table of grace.

You get to be there because Jesus unequivocally defeated sin, death, inferiority, insecurity, imperfection, isolation, and rejection, just to name a few. And He doesn’t yank you from your seat at the table when you occasionally lose a battle or forget who you are.

In Christ Jesus, you’ve been made brand-new, through and through; you’re an heir of God, a joint heir with Christ, a royal priest, clothed in righteousness, and dearly beloved.

You’re anointed and invited to enter the Most Holy of Holies to meet with the star-breathing God who put the galaxies in place.

And though He spends His days and hours overseeing the affairs of all people, He’s never too busy for you.

When you approach the throne of grace, you can be assured of God’s glad welcome and loving embrace. Why? Because you’re one of His own. Always. Forever. No matter what. Isn’t that just spectacular? Leaves me speechless.

Our safest place is at the table of grace—a place we’ve not earned but that Christ has earned for us.

Our only response can be one of humble, awe-inspired gratitude.

We rest in the finished work of Christ, and we work from that place of divine privilege.

We have nothing to prove and all of eternity to live for.

 


Susie Larson is a talk radio host, national speaker, and author of twelve booksDrawing from thirty years of journaling, trusted author and radio host Susie shares the secrets to effective prayer. She will help you put into action the powerful combination of a humble reverence before God and a tenacious hold on the promises He gives His beloved children, drawing you closer to God and changing how you see yourself and your circumstances.

I cannot recommend Susie Larson or her words to you highly enough — this woman is a gift to the church.  A life-changing treasure of a book to revisit again and again — Your Powerful Prayers: Reaching the Heart of God with a Bold and Humble Faith. 

[ Our humble thanks to Bethany House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

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