Author: Katherine Billingsley — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: February 8, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens

READ: ISAIAH 64:6; ROMANS 3:10, 23-24; PHILIPPIANS 3:3-11

Arlyn stood in a long line of travelers, each waiting for their turn at the weighing station. She watched the distance between her and the balance scale grow smaller. Her basket of jewels rattled as she tried to control her trembling. When she had gathered them in the dark depths of the mine, the jewels had appeared flawless. Now, against the backdrop of the splendid palace towering over her, she saw cracks marring the stones. She desperately hoped they would be enough.

When it was Arlyn’s turn to step forward, she looked over at the curtained doorway beyond the giant scale. People whispered that the king presided over each weighing, though no one ever saw him. She placed her basket on the scale and glanced fearfully at the enormous rock on the other side of the balance. It was hopeless. There was no way her jewels, which seemed more like pebbles now, would ever outweigh the impossible weight of the boulder. But that was the only way to purchase entry into the kingdom.

“Not enough,” a soldier declared, confirming Arlyn’s worst fear. Exhausted, she sank to her knees. It wasn’t enough. How could it not be enough? She had given everything she had.

“Wait.” A voice called from the shadows. A figure stepped out from the curtain. It was the king’s son himself. He gestured to Arlyn. “Will you take your jewels off the scale?”

“But…I can’t!” Arlyn whispered hoarsely. She had worked for years to gather the jewels—were they really worthless?

“Do you trust me?” the prince asked, surprising Arlyn with his gentleness. This time, Arlyn nodded. The jewels turned to dust in her hands as soon as she picked them up. She turned her eyes to the prince. With scarred hands, he lifted the great boulder from the scale and hefted it onto his own shoulder. Then, he placed himself on the balance. The scale crumbled beneath his weight. Arlyn watched in wonder as the curtain separating her from the king ripped straight down the middle, from top to bottom.

“Follow me.” The prince held out his hand kindly. “My father wants you to come and be part of his kingdom, part of our family.” As Arlyn took his hand and stepped into the kingdom, a peace settled over her. A weight she hadn’t known she was carrying disappeared from her shoulders. Her jewels hadn’t been enough. But the prince himself had saved her. • Katherine Billingsley

• In today’s allegorical story, Arlyn struggles to let go of the jewels she worked so hard to collect. As humans we could never do enough good to outweigh our sin (anything we do, think, or say that goes against God); we could never make ourselves righteous. Yet, we often struggle to let go of our own good works. Arlyn finds peace when she realizes the prince alone can help her. We can feel a similar weight lifted from us when we recognize that we can’t save ourselves and instead put our trust in Jesus. He offers us rest because He has already done the work of saving us by living a sinless life, dying in our place, and rising from the grave. He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Have you experienced the freedom of trusting in Jesus? If you want to know more about this good news, check out our “Know Jesus” page.

• Even after we’ve put our trust in Jesus, we all fall into striving to be good enough, instead of resting in what Jesus has already done for us. In what ways do you find yourself trying to be “enough” for God, for other people, for yourself…? Consider taking a moment to talk to God about these things. He has so much compassion for you, and He wants to help.

• In addition to talking to God, who are trusted Christians you could talk to about what you’re struggling with, and discern together how God might be inviting you to step forward in love for Him and for others as you rest in Him?

• The moment Jesus gave up His life on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain separated the Holy of Holies (where God’s presence dwelt) from the rest of the temple (where people could come and worship God). Our sin separated us from God, but God made the way for us to be near Him. If you want to dig deeper, read Matthew 27:50-54; Colossians 1:12-14; 1 Peter 2:24.

He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB)