Last weekend I had the privilege of serving with a fantastic group of volunteers (doorholders, as we are called – see Psalm 84:10) at Passion 2015 – a gathering of 20,000 college age students who came together for three days to be encouraged in the Lord and to lift up the name of Jesus.
Along with about 20 other people, I was stationed to serve the students in the adjacent CNN Center food court which was outside the actual venue. Since most of the activity, supplies and other 1180 workers were inside the Philips Arena, we needed to make frequent trips back and forth between the two buildings. Unfortunately, we couldn’t just come and go as we pleased. Even with wrist bands, access passes, and shirts that identified us as part of the crew working with the event, we still had to exit the food court building, go around a gate, pass through a baggage check, and enter the Arena through a side door.
I realize that it was an effort by the venue staff to keep the premises safe and secure for the kids, but it did make us feel ‘less than special’ to have to walk an unnecessarily long distance every time we needed to retrieve supplies, run errands, get a bottle of water, or even to take a break. As our fatigue grew throughout the weekend, the trek to the rest area seemed longer each time, especially since we could see that only steps away from our station was a row of glass doors that led directly into Philips Arena without ever having to go outside.
But… as I was yet again sloshing toward the arena through the puddles of water from the third day of bad weather to deluge downtown Atlanta, it occurred to me that sometimes believers think that our approach to God has to resemble the way we were required to come into the venue. As we enter the throne room of our holy and righteous God, all too often, shame, self-condemnation, and failure rain on us creating an incorrect sense of unworthiness. In response, we slink around to the side entrance, feebly concealing our disgrace, and hoping that we can get through an imaginary check point without our shortcomings being discovered.
What a tragically twisted view of what it means to be believers in Christ!! Instead of shrinking back in fear and shame, we need the assurance that we never hold a second rate status, nor do our mistakes and failures limit our access to God’s presence. Listen to the words of the writer of Hebrews in chapter 4: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (vs 16)
That doesn’t mean that we can approach God in an arrogant or prideful way, or even in a manner that points to any self-effort or merit of our own. The only basis for our confidant attitude to commune with the Father is rooted in the truth found in verse 14 of the same chapter. “Since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”
With Jesus as our perfect ‘doorholder’, His sacrifice has given us confident, and, yes, BOLD access to the Father at any time, and for any reason. So, set aside your feelings of inadequacy. Your acceptability before the Father is found in Christ!
The front door is open!