Today's Word of Encouragement from Wayne:
"When they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments... they shall not gird themselves with anything that makes them sweat. When they go out into the outer court, into the court of the people, they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in holy chambers; then they shall put on other garments"
Ezekiel 44: 17-19
In the Old Testament, the priests of the Lord from the sons of Zadok, who were blessed to minister in the inner court, had specific garments to wear in God’s presence, of linen, that were only for ministering to the Lord. This represents to me how special ministering to the Lord is to our Abba Father, and I also see in this text how these linen garments represent our identity, as priests unto God. The inner court priests were told specifically to wear linen "and wool shall not be on them while they are ministering in the gates of the inner court" (Ezekiel 44:17). The reason for this was," they shall not gird themselves with anything that makes them sweat." Praise God, ministering to the Lord is not about our works, our labors, our efforts, or us at all. Rather, ministering to the Lord is intended to be all about our Lord! It’s not about me. It’s all about You, my God. It’s not about my works ("O Lord look at me"). It’s all about Your presence ("O lord You are beautiful").
Sweat speaks of our efforts, plans, and our self-awareness apart from Christ. But, bless His Holy Name, God beautifully shows us in this passage that Ministering to our Lord is about resting, not sweating, in His presence, much like "Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word" (Luke 10:39) or like John the Baptist, who said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" after declaring "the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full" (John 3:29-30). When we minister to God today, standing or seated, there is a beautiful increase of Jesus Christ, Abba Father and Holy Spirit in our lives, accompanied by a blessed decrease of our selves. In the Old Covenant God saw the linen garments upon the priests in His presence, and He was pleased. These garments were worn for the Lord to see and not for "the outer court, into the court of the people."
In this day, in the New Covenant, God sees our hearts toward Him as our linen garments when we come to minister before Him in His presence, and He is pleased. This is so special to our Lord, when we come just to be with Him in the inner court, and is so blessedly renewing for us. Today, I encourage you to respond to God’s call to be His special "royal priesthood" (1Peter 2:9). Prepare your heart with your linen garments, then rest with Him and bless Him in His presence. Hallelujah!