“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
What do you think of when you hear the word blessed? Is it a new car? A house with a white picket fence? The right promotion? An elaborate wedding reception? More often than not, material blessings are what come to mind, if we’re honest. We look at a person’s favorable conditions and call it blessed. But are they really? Undoubtedly, there are times we don’t feel blessed. Disappointment, financial difficulty, loss, suffering, sin… our list of problems is endless, but the reality is that if we are in Christ, we are always blessed. Do we believe that?
Now, there’s nothing wrong with material blessings. I'm praying for quite a few! We have a Heavenly Father who delights in giving good gifts to His children. But if we are limited to thinking that good gifts equal blessings, we will start to think we aren’t blessed if the chips don’t fall in our favor. Yes, a new car or promotion is a blessing. But it only remains a blessing if we remain in Christ. And material blessings will never supersede our spiritual blessings in Christ. They pale in comparison. Material blessings are temporal but our spiritual blessings in Christ are eternal. Our Heavenly Father is in “the heavenly realms;” the place where we have every spiritual blessing in Christ.
The world’s perception of blessing is pretty different from the vantage point in the heavenly realms. But opposite is the norm in the Kingdom of God. We just have to be intentional about where we camp out. When our heavenly eye-sight is adjusted, we see Jesus for who He really is and can then live according to who we are in Him.
There are people with a name-it-and-claim-it prosperity ‘gospel’ who would consider Paul the Apostle to be far from blessed. He was persecuted and suffered many trials as a result of following Jesus. His circumstances never really became favorable in the natural. Yet, after his introduction, Paul started his letter to the Ephesians by praising God because God has blessed us “in Christ.” He lists the rich spiritual blessings we have been given. He wrote that letter from prison, by the way.
Focusing on the genuine Divine nature of God sheds light on what is counterfeit in our lives. Labels are wrong. Idols are false. The only way we can peel them off and remove them is by knowing
what Who is True. We desperately need the Word of God in our lives to renew our minds.
At times, I am guilty of focusing so much on my desired earthly blessings that I lose sight of all that I’ve already been given in Christ. Rather than fixing my gaze on Jesus and waiting on Him, I dwell on what I think I need most; the temporal things. However, when my perspective changes and switches into the heavenly realms, the temporary begins to fade.
Our topics in the upcoming weeks will focus on several of the blessings in Christ from this particular section of scripture. We will take time to discuss how we are CHOSEN, REDEEMED, LOVED, and HOLY, however those aren’t the only blessings. Ephesians is jam packed with spiritual blessings.
We often default into what we think we have to do for God or how we think we can peel off our labels, but the truth is we can’t do anything without the help of the Holy Spirit and the revelation of the Heavenly Father’s love. Here in Ephesians, Paul kicks it off with the blessings we already have in Christ. I think that’s a great way for us to start off our series as well.
Who Do You Think You Are?
What label (or idol or circumstance) has kept you from believing you are spiritually blessed? (i.e. Being abandoned in a relationship has made it hard to believe that I’m really chosen).
Find a verse that tells you what God says about that particular label (or idol or circumstance). When thoughts rise up about that label, grab hold of that verse and believe the Truth of God's Word for your life. (i.e. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” - 1 Peter 2:9)
If you're jumping into the series now, feel free to check out the #WDYTYA16 page that includes links to all the posts so far.