Do you ever wonder what amazing and fantastic verses meant to the people who first wrote them down? How about this one?
“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).
Think what that must have meant to the apostle Paul, let alone to you and me. I think it drove him fairly crazy with joy! Everything he had long been working for, and sweating and fretting and worrying about concerning his life and standing with God, Paul had been given. For free! Everything.
Paul was a specialist at hard work for God—he had graduate degrees in it, I’m sure. There was no one who was better at working for God’s blessing than Paul. And there was not one moment of work left, not a second of fear over whether or not God was pleased enough with Paul to bless him. God’s blessing, His all-the-time favor, had been entirely dumped on Paul for an entirely unrelated reason:
God wanted to! So He did. And Paul believed Him.
The want to of God—the love of God—compelled God and it still does. I’m so glad. It’s my favorite thing about God. He doesn’t wait for me to deserve His love or for me to be lovable. Oh, I’ve heard the love of God described as a love that “decides” or “chooses” for the benefit of another. And I know we’re all supposed to love like that. I wonder how many times I have heard someone say, “Love is a decision.” The implication is always, “So get busy making decisions.” Well, that has always been my problem! I’m not always good at making good decisions. Haven’t you struggled to make right decisions?! Anyway, the goal of “right decisions” is a good one—better relationships, which is no small thing.
But it seems so calculated. Is that really what motivated God? Is that why God “…blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”?—because He calculated it? Because He did the math and the idea proved workable? I don’t think so! I know that somewhere “way back when,” God decided to send Jesus to the cross and to raise Him again, bringing us with Him. But was it calculated only?
No way! That’s not the love I know from God. He wants to! And it’s the want that motivates the decision. He’s full of want to! His love is always overflowing to us, and His decision—to give us everything—is in the overflow of the want to.
Imagine Jesus going to the cross thinking, “Well, I suppose this has to be done. After all, Father put it on the road map of history a long time ago, so I have to carry it out.” No way! Hebrews 12:2 tells us that it was for JOY that Jesus did it. God’s love was about to be consummated in the joy of bringing many people to Himself! He did it for love. He wanted to.
That’s why He is always convincing you about what He thinks of you—How good and high it is, and how well off you are with Him. Love is the reason that He spends His time rescuing you from your enemies of doubt and fear and covetousness and lust and unbelief. Because of love, He wants to rescue and comfort you. He really is as good as He says He is with you, the one He loves. As He did for Paul, God has given you everything. He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
So try this: the next time you’re in fairly serious prayer with God, ask, “Father, do I have to worry about asking you to bless me? Is that an everyday decision you make, a moment-by-moment calculation based upon something I do? Or did you already bless me all the way, holding nothing back?” And then be still and listen. He has so much fun answering that, because then you can proceed with being convinced over and over again by God about His love for you . . . and that He’s holding nothing back.
“Really, Father? You’re not kidding? I don’t have to earn anything anymore? I have it already in Christ, and you’ll never change your mind? You really love me that way?” And the answer will always be: “Yes. It’s true, my son. It’s true, my daughter. I’ve held nothing back and I’ll never change my mind.”
All that’s left for us to say is, “Ahhhh. Amen.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.”