Why Do We Think Spiritual Blessings Are Immaterial?

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February 16, 2018

Ephesians 1:3-5

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 

CONSIDER THIS

About twenty something years ago I found myself house-sitting for some friends who were out of town. I will forever remember their refrigerator. It was like a giant refrigerator magnet for refrigerator magnets. In the midst of all the noisiness of so many messages and images one magnet stood out from all the rest, shining like a beacon of good news to my tired soul. I remember it often to this very day. You want to know what it said? The small white square with embossed black letters said,

“You are perfectly perfect in Christ.”

Wow! No-one ever told me that before. I had no concept of it. For my money, this refrigerator magnet captures the essence of what Paul opens with in today’s text. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

To be blessed with “every spiritual blessing” means, to be perfectly perfect in Christ. The fascinating thing here is the meaning of the Greek term behind the English term “every.” It means, literally, every! Every spiritual blessing.

It means this: because I belong to Jesus, all that belongs to Jesus belongs to me. Imagine learning you just inherited a billion dollars from a relative you didn’t even know you had. What would you do? I would do whatever it took to claim this extraordinary inheritance.

“Come on,” we say, “that’s money. Of course we would go after it. The Bible is talking about spiritual blessings.” And that is our big problem. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we tend to think material blessings are superior to spiritual blessings; that what we see is superior to what we don’t see; that Jesus rules his Kingdom but money rules the world. How can this be true? Doesn’t Jesus rule the world? Or does he just rule the “spiritual” world; the fuzzy, nebulous religious stuff?

Because of sin and death, we have these two realms set in dichotomous, dualistic categories. Heaven or Earth; spiritual or material. What if Jesus, the God-Man, has actually put them back together? What if in Christ, these realities now hold together in a seamless whole? What if Earth is filled with Heaven and everything our eyes see is infused with a spiritual quality only perceptible to those united with Christ, infused with the Holy Spirit?

What if the secret to all creativity, order, beauty, blessing, prosperity, goodness and glory on this material Earth is found in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms? And what if all of this is ours to freely receive and freely give because we are united with Christ?

Now, what if we are completely asleep to all of it? We would need an awakening wouldn’t we?

LENTEN INSIGHT: Throughout the ages, the word Lent has been synonymous with the word fasting. Fasting is an ancient practice which purposes to expose the relationship between the material and the spiritual. Physical hunger reveals spiritual weakness (think “hangry”), and spiritual weakness would lead us to Jesus. It’s why the first statement in his manifesto is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NIV). We at Seedbed have created a grace-filled way to experiment with fasting. Consider giving it a try over these next seven weeks leading up to Easter. Get started here.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who is the perfect union of God and man, Heaven and Earth, spiritual and material, grace and peace. Put me back together in him that I might truly live. We pray in Jesus name, amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How do you resonate with today’s Daily text? How do you struggle with it?
  2. What do you make of this split between spiritual and material things and our tendency to place the most value on the material? Could it be that we think of the spiritual as being immaterial?
  3. What might it mean to claim your inheritance of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms?”

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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