Every Spiritual Blessing
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. Eph. 1:3-4
Each time I read Ephesians 1:3 I get blurry brain. Does that ever happen to you? Now there are some scriptures that hit you right in the heart. Like take John 15:5 for instance, “…apart from Me ye can do nothing.” Wham! Like a softball to the noggin’ Jesus tells it like it is: “You’re doomed to the ditch if I’m not leading your life.” And if that doesn’t get your attention, He reinforces His point with “If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers.” Mercy! Those few phrases are enough to make you go sit in the garden a spell and humble yourself before the Lord.
But Ephesians 1:3 is more of a slippery scripture to me. Like a slimy, flip-flopping bass at the end of a fishing line, it’s hard for me to get a good grasp on it. I tend to slide right on to verse 4: He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. Now that makes my heart happy! Imagine that! Before ol’ Abe Lincoln He had picked me. Already chosen when dinosaurs were eating trees in Milwaukee. Even in advance of His flipping on the heavenly light switch and separating land and sea, He had my name on His list. Glory! That skyrockets my soul! And it sure makes me think in the eyes of the Almighty, In Christ, I’m mighty special. I like to ponder that idea of being chosen, giving glory to God for His mercy toward me. But honestly, I sort of slide right by Ephesians 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Why am I not drawn to ponder the concept of every spiritual blessing? Oh sure, I give a hasty mental nod to Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, but is there more to consider here? Let’s do a U-turn and sit at this address a minute.
…who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… What comes up for you when you read those sweet words? Oh, I’m embarrassed to confess my thoughts. My mind immediately files the passage under Eternal Life/Heaven, makes an invisible checkmark aside it and swiftly continues reading, seeking scriptural “meat” for my daily doings. How ashamed I am for my shallow ways! If this passage were only addressing salvation through Christ, at minimum I should pause and with a humble heart say an earnest prayer of thanksgiving. He gave us eternal life, saints! When was the last time you danced in the living room singing praises to your Father for this undeserved gift? Have you ever had a Salvation Celebration? We throw big ol’ parties for birthdays, anniversaries, and one of the biggest is the annual Halloween hoopla. But we don’t gather a gaggle on a Saturday night for the sole purpose of celebrating our salvation. Why not??
So shame on me for skimming over “every spiritual blessing” like it’s trite. But now that we sit with that passage on our lap, what else is Brother Paul trying to tell us? Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… I think we’d best investigate “every.”
every = all, without exception
Well that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? All spiritual blessings, with no holdouts. So beyond salvation, what are they? Like that first creation day, the lightbulb of my brain is slowly coming on… He was also referring to all the divine blessings we as saints have access to while we’re down here walking this ball. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, guidance, protection, provision, wisdom, intercession, the Holy Spirit… In this tiny phrase, so easily overlooked, Brother Paul is reminding us of our inheritance in Christ! He has withheld nothing! We have every spiritual blessing at our immediate disposal for our daily busyness. Oh sure, being chosen before the Brontosaurus is clearly noteworthy, but God’s gift through Christ of every spiritual blessing – nothing kept in the closet – is the promise that fuels your soul for surviving today! When your kids or a colleague is getting on your last nerve, you can claim your cache of patience. When you’re prone to worry over finances, remind yourself one of your spiritual blessings is divine provision. (2 Cor 9:8, Phil 4:19) And surely when you are tempted to boycott your morning walk or eat an unfulfilling enticement, STOP and claim your spiritual blessing of self-control. (Actually more rightly, Spirit-control.)
Oh Church, as children of the Almighty we have so very much at our immediate disposal. Spiritual blessings – every spiritual blessing – with NO exceptions. You have patience. You have provision. And you have the power to pause and reject unhealthy invitations. “No thank you. The few moments of enjoyment I get from cookies are nowhere near the satisfaction I feel when I eat intentionally by the power of the Holy Spirit that, by the grace of God, fills me with self-control.”
Aren’t you glad we turned around this morning to reflect on Paul’s powerful reminder? You miss a phrase you miss a lot.