I was 37 years old when I discovered a vital truth about Jesus.
A lightning bolt of realization hit me on a summer day in late July as I wondered over the phrase in Ephesians 2:6 that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” As a writing instructor who specializes in vivid and precise verbs, I focused in on that verb I’d read a thousand times but never considered before:
What did it mean that I was already seated at the Greatest Table with the Greatest King? Why was Paul able to write this when he was seated – not at any kind of royal table – but in a prison? How would a person seated with Christ live?
I knew that I wasn’t living like someone who had a seat at the table. I lived like I was fighting for a seat at the table. Everything about my life – even my ministry activities – was more about trying to prove I was special or important. I wanted to sit with the high achievers, the prestigious, and the influential. I fought to belong in other ways too; I longed to sit with the beautiful, the wealthy, and the famous.
But when I finally saw myself seated with Christ at the table, I knew that I had already arrived. Everything I longed for – that belonging, recognition, and security – was already happening to me because I was with Jesus. Most importantly, I could take my eyes off of myself and just rest in my seat, worshipping Jesus and living out the “good works which God prepared in advance” for me to do as promised in Ephesians 2:10.
As I thought more about how seated people live, I considered how we adore Jesus, access all the riches of the Kingdom, and abide deeply to bear the fruit He ordains for our lives. Those new spiritual verbs – adore, access, and abide – began to shape a whole new way of living. I also recognized that at this table, I could experience the belonging and community I wanted so desperately.
We have a seat at this table together. Here, we belong, and from this position of security, self-forgetfulness, and equality with one another, we can enjoy Jesus and our God-ordained lives. We have the fullness of Christ at this table. We have His power, His provision, and His purposes changing us from insecure, lonely, and rejected people to those belonging at the Greatest Table with the Greatest King.
Finally, I began to live freely from comparison. I found a quote from the Hayden Planetarium museum guide that simply states, “All seats provide equal viewing of the universe.”
When the children race into the planetarium to find the best seat, the guide must remind them that all seats are equal; there are no best seats. No matter where they sit, they won’t miss any part of the show. When I read that quote, I laughed with joy because I began to truly enjoy my seat in the heavenly realms and my particular life circumstances.
No matter what’s happening to me, I know that all seats provide equal access to the fullness of Christ at all times. I have everything I need right here. My life and yours are exactly as they should be. We can stop wishing for a different life because in this seat, we enjoy Jesus and the life He ordains for us.
Living this seated life has changed everything about me. Won’t you take your seat with me?
Heather Holleman, PhD, is the author of Seated With Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison.
She is a speaker, writer, and college instructor and serves on the staff of Faculty Commons with Cru. Heather lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two daughters.
To learn more about Heather, visit her at heatherholleman.com.