24 Aug A MUST READ: Seated With Christ- Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison
A few years ago, my husband and I started what we like to call our “lifetime library.” These books have become part of our DNA, deeply shaping our souls, feeding our minds, and inspiring us to grow. Although most of our additions to the lifetime library tend to be books related to spiritual growth, over the years we’ve added books on marriage, career principles, parenting, and even a cookbook. Our hope is that one day our children will read some or all of these books and come to love them like we have.
This summer, I added Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison by Heather Holleman to our lifetime library. I came across this book while preparing for the She Speaks writing conference. Initially, I ordered the book to use as a research tool, not knowing that the Lord had a divine appointment scheduled for my heart.
The past year has been a season of uprooting and planting in my heart and mind. Although all of my outward circumstances have remained the same, the Lord has been doing some serious work under the surface. A few months ago, he asked me if I was ready to deal with my crippling envy. For far too long, I’ve had deep roots of envy in my heart. Each new season of life presented myriad opportunities to indulge my envy and I was trapped on a hamster wheel of sin. Envy is capable of endless permutations.
The thing about envy is that it never gets better unless you deal with the root. When the Lord began uprooting envy in my heart, he was so unbelievably patient with me. Our work together has been slow and beautiful. His faithfulness has absolutely astounded me. He’s shown me that his power and his grace are big enough for me “to be transformed by the renewing of my mind” (Romans 12:2).
When the Lord uproots deep issues in our hearts, he doesn’t intend to leave a blank space, he intends to plant. Deep heart issues like envy must be replaced with even deeper truths. In order to grow, we need a new framework, based on the truth of Scripture, to filter our thoughts and guard our minds.
Seated with Christ provides that new framework. The book is based on Ephesians 2:6, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” The author invites readers to “take their seat in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” and explores what life looks like when we’re truly seated with Christ.
When we’re seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, we can stop striving for seats at all of other tables we’ve spent our lives clamoring to be a part of— the popular table, the pretty table, the wealthy table, the successful table. When we take our true seat, the seat that was purchased by Christ through the power of his blood, we are both eternally secure and secure in the work he has for us on earth.
We don’t have to strive, worry, or jockey for position. We are seated (present tense) with Christ in the heavenly realms.
One of my favorite parts is when the author shares about the critical piece missing in her faith:
I knew Jesus. I loved Jesus. I worshiped and served Him. I read my Bible, studied Christian concepts, kept a detailed prayer journal, shared my faith, met regularly with other Christians in church and in small group studies, and worked for my community in various ways. I was the mom listening to Christian music in the kitchen, teaching Bible verses to my children, and rejoicing over what a great God I served … But something was missing. I did not know how to name it. Underneath the activity of my life ran a dark undercurrent of sin. I felt a subtle corrosion that something did not ring true about me … I felt like everything I did— all the activity, the writing, serving, speaking, studying— was about something other than Jesus … I was missing a theological truth that kept me in a prison of self-absorption … When I read Ephesians 2:6, I thought about the word, “seated.” I imagined the security and sense of belonging that came with having a seat at the most important table in the universe with other Christians. How would that seated person live? What would it feel like to have a special place at God’s royal table … It was as if God said to me, “Heather, you can stop fighting to hard. You already have a seat at the table. You are already there. Everything you want for yourself is already true about you in Christ. Now start living like a seated person.
If any part of this resonates with you (and I’m willing to bet there’s something in there for everyone), read this book. Trust me, you will be so happy you did.
Ladies, let’s take our seats with Christ in the heavenly realms. Let’s begin walking in the freedom that accompanies a seated life. Jesus didn’t die for us on the cross so we could remain empty, striving, and poor; He came to give us life. “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).