Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Calculated Lavishing?

When writing something down that’s in your heart and head, do you ever try to shout with your words because you’re excited?  I do.  I think the apostle Paul did, too.

"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 Paul, let alone to you and me. Everything he had been working for and sweating over and fretting about concerning his life with God, Paul had been given.  Everything!  All of it!  There wasn’t a moment of work left, not a second of fear remaining over whether or not God was pleased with him enough.  God's entire blessing had been dumped on Paul for an entirely unrelated reason.

God wanted to.  So He did.  That’s worth shouting about, don’t you think?  I’ll bet the believers at Ephesus thought so, because the same “entire blessing” applied to them.

The love of God compelled God, and it still does. I'm so glad! Oh, I've heard the love of God described as a love that simply decides 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!" The goal is about improving our relationships, and that's not something I want to downplay. That’s important. After all, it's just sensible. . .and calculated.

But is that really what motivated God? Is that why God ". . .blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ"? I know that sometime long ago God planned to send Jesus to the cross and to raise Him again, lavishing us with benefits. But was it only a calculated lavishing?

No way! That's not the love of God. He wanted to! It pleased him. (See Ephesians 1:1-14) And it was the want that motivated the plan. His love is ever flowing toward us, ever convincing us, ever rescuing us from doubt and fear and covetousness and lust and unbelief, and convincing us that He is as good as He says He is.  I’ll bet you’re getting to know that love, too.  It’s the big attraction!  The main event!  (See?  I’m shouting. ☺)

I'll tell you, that is one of the highest desires of my life—to believe God about himself. I want always to live believing that God is who he says he is, that he does what he says he does out of love, and that he did what he says he did—blessed ME in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

“Really, Father? You really did? You're not kidding? I don't have to earn anything?  I have it already in Christ?”

"Yes, son, it is true.  It’s all yours. What do you think of that?"

"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." (2 Corinthians 1:20)

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