I was born on the outside. Bare toes wiggled in the dust and flat feet paced the ground way beyond the promised land. Didn’t really know any better – can you get that? Even when they told me where I was living and where I’d be when I died, it was a tough sell. When a soul only knows one taste or one place, the thought of something different is sort of dreamy. Cloudy. Unimaginable. My home was what it was – and all that I knew.
In any case, being out didn’t seem so bad. It was comfortable. Warm. Familiar. And I sure had a lot of company. In a cinch you could round up a crowd and get a party going, hooting and hollering about where we were or what we were doing there. Those bashes could go on for ages and were wild fun while they lasted. Hardly ever saw anybody celebrating being on the inside – didn’t seem like any fun at all.
Life on the outside was filled with buzz. Hectic. Flashy. Distractions all around like choices at an ice cream shop – a flavor for every taste. My days were stuffed as those feet and I grew, taste buds tickled and tantalized. Entertainment turned into hobbies, hobbies grew to obsessions and obsessions became lifestyles. The idea that there even was somewhere to be in was buried deep. Forgotten. Ignored. Every once in awhile a flash of the steady life inside would cross your vision. Then poof, you were on to the next thing.
Somewhere along the wavy line of living - don’t really know where - the stuff I chose threw the things I was trying to avoid straight into my path. Nothing ever seemed to live up to its promises on the outside.
And so there I was, in a place I called home and surrounded by friends, but alone. Cold. Lost.
Inside looked mighty fine then - far away and kind of scary, but way better than where I was. The place I avoided because I didn’t want to miss out became the very spot where I wanted to be.
Full of myself and my own ideas, I focused on getting in. At first it made sense that I could work hard, clean up and get my act together, you know? Then I’d deserve to be in. Belong. Invited. But no matter how hard I scrubbed, nothing came clean and shame weighed heavy on my shoulders.
So I started to hunt for a secret way in, using every bit of brain I had to beat the system. If I learned enough a hidden passage would show itself. A trap door. A hush-hush entrance. Plenty of others had tried to get in before me, it’d be simple to learn from them. Seemed sensible. But all of my mental somersaults left me dizzy and still firmly outside.
I stumbled across a single door in my chase and efforts, way out in the open. Obvious. Well lit. The solitary entrance was marked with two things – a single word and a picture of a broken, bleeding man. Standing in the doorway was that same man, only strong and whole, and He was beckoning me. Smiling. Waving. GRACE was spelled bold and plain across the door. How’d I miss that? The man waited patiently as I scratched my head and scuffed my toes in the dirt. Unsure. Skeptical. But the anticipation was contagious and the more I looked at Him, the more beautiful He became. And it seemed that He wanted me inside with Him.
It was so simple you know, going from out to in. But the implications were beyond my comprehension. Way beyond. I knew I was out, and that I wanted to be in there. The door was open - I just had to accept and step. Understand and move. Get it? Here we go.
What a difference being born on the inside made.
Ephesians 2:19 (New International Version)
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household.
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