Delightfully Close

I read a book recently titled Hinds’ Feet on High Places—if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It’s a story about a girl, Much-Afraid, going on her journey to the High Places with the Good Shepherd. On the journey she has to overcome many things, such as self-hatred, pride, bitterness, resentment, and self-pity. She goes over mountains, through valleys and even travels through the desert at one point before she ever got close to the High Places. The thing about Much-Afraid was that she was literally afraid all the time. She was raised in the Valley of Humiliation, her family was crazy and manipulative, and everyone was telling her not to trust the Good Shepherd. But despite all of her circumstances, she chose to trust the Good Shepherd anyway. The Good Shepherd had promised Much-Afraid healing and a new name once she reached the High Places and that’s the hope she clung too along her journey.

Once Much-Afraid reached the High Places the Good Shepherd kept His word to her: she received healing and a new name. Now, I won’t spoil too much because hopefully you’ll read it at some point, but once in the High Places, Much-Afraid has an encounter with the Good Shepherd where He basically asks her what she learned along her journey. Here is one of her responses to that question:

“The third thing that I learned was that you, my Lord, never regarded me as I actually was, lame and weak and crooked and cowardly. You saw me as I would be when you had done what you promised and had brought me to the High Places, when it could be truly said, ‘There is none that walks with such a queenly ease, nor with such grace, as she.’ You always treated me with the same love and graciousness as though I were a queen already and not wretched little Much-Afraid.”
What an encounter and revelation to have with the Lord. It gives me chills every time I read that response, and I hope that by the end of this blog post you’ll have a revelation similar to this one with the Good Shepherd himself. A revelation that all along, He sees us through a lens of unconditional love and righteousness because that’s the position He has freely given us and is inviting us to step into.

I think it’s easy for us to grasp unconditional love—love without conditions, requirements, etc. Love that is freely given and full of grace. I mean we think about this all the time when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. But what does it mean for Him to see us through a lens of righteousness? In other words, what does it mean for the Lord to be our righteousness? And more importantly, how do we respond to that promise?

 If we had to define what “righteousness” means, many of us would describe it as “having a right standing with God.” Yes and amen; but, how do we actually relate to that? How do we grasp what it means to be in right standing with God, which is something many of us have heard for so long we are practically numb to it. How do we let this idea come alive to us again? I think it’s important to understand what happened and then understand how it happened. What I mean is, understand what God did to make this right standing happen, and then understand how He chose to do it.

So, what did He do?

“You had none of the Jewish covenants and laws; you were foreigners to Israel’s incredible heritage [freedom]; you were without the covenants and prophetic promises of the Messiah, the promised hope, and without God. Yet look at you now! Everything is new! Although you were once distant and far away from God, now you have been brought delightfully close to him through the sacred blood of Jesus—you have actually been united to Christ!” - Ephesians 2:12-13 TPT

I think these verses give a great picture of what the Lord did to restore righteousness to us. We were without everything—without covenants, without promises, without freedom, without God! Yet, look at us now! What a statement! Everything is new, everything is different, everything has changed just by one look from the Father! Where we were once distant, we are now delightfully close; how wild is that?! We have been brought close to our Abba Father by the blood of Jesus—we now have right standing with God through the sacred blood of Jesus. We went from having nothing to having everything just because the blood of Jesus counts for something.
Jesus died so we could be delightfully close to our Father. He died so we could have right standing with our Creator just like we had in the beginning, without shame, without sin. We are perfectly acceptable to the Lord. Let that sink in for a moment.

 How did He decide to do this? How exactly do we have right standing with Him?

”Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus—all because he sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate him with all our hearts! And he chose us to be his very own, joining us to himself even before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence. - Ephesians 1:3-4 TPT

He has freely lavished us with every spiritual blessing just because He wanted to. When we stand in front of God, He sees us through this lens of righteousness that says we are perfectly innocent right here, right now. We are perfectly pleasing to Him because He chose us to be his very own. We don’t have to wait for righteousness to come because we are already wrapped into Christ and that’s how He sees us. The blood of Jesus means something to Him and He marked us with His love so that we would be seen as holy with an unstained innocence.
Simply put, the Lord did everything so we could be in relationship with Him. He made a way so He could see us through a lens of righteousness. He made sure right standing was a possibility and, through the blood of Jesus, we now have that position with Him. Our position with Him has always been the High Places. He’s always treated us with love and graciousness as though we were kings and queens already. We have always been His first choice and that was His design from the beginning.

Let’s recall Much-Afraid’s encounter in the High Places.

“The third thing that I learned was that you, my Lord, never regarded me as I actually was, lame and weak and crooked and cowardly. You saw me as I would be when you had done what you promised and had brought me to the High Places, when it could be truly said, ‘There is none that walks with such a queenly ease, nor with such grace, as she.’ You always treated me with the same love and graciousness as though I were a queen already and not wretched little Much-Afraid.”

In this moment Much-Afraid realized who the Good Shepherd actually was. I pray we would have a revelation like this; one where we realize there is nothing we can do to earn His love or lose His love. In the moments we are lame, weak, crooked, and cowardly I pray we would trust that He sees us differently, that He sees us rightly through a lens of righteousness. I pray we would live as though we were kings and queens already. I pray we would let our Good Shepherd take us to the High Places and trust we are worth being there. I pray we would live from a place of unconditional love, knowing the Lord will keep every promise He makes.
No longer are we wretched little Much-Afraid—Grace and Glory shall be our new name as we run in the High Places with the Good Shepherd himself.

Author | Elizabeth Sprinkle





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