Ephesians 1:3 “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.” (NLT)
When I think of what this means I am reminded of at least the following:
A. God is the source of these blessings. When I experience the blessing, whether it’s a physical gift, or an awareness of beauty in nature, or delight over a grandchild, or a new awareness of God’s mercy, or the honor of seeing spiritual fruit from my service to others, I want to follow that sunbeam back up to its origin, God.
B. The content of these blessings is described in the rest of this passage, verses 4 to 14. In general, from this passage my spiritual blessings are all the good things God gives me as His child, such as being without fault in God’s eyes, being loved, being chosen and adopted; gaining freedom, wisdom, understanding, and an inheritance; receiving confident hope, knowledge of God’s plan and a significant purpose for my life; spiritual gifts and the Holy Spirit to live with and in me. [Each of these blessings to be looked at more closely in future devotionals]
C. These blessings are not just received in the future but are also those I can experience now. Blessings “in the heavenly realms” can apply to the spiritual world I live in now and not just after death.
D. I am blessed and receive all these blessings because of my relationship with Christ, because I am united in Christ, because I am a believer in Him. The Good News Translation translates the last words of this verse as “in our union with Christ he has blessed us.” I wonder if the emphasis in this verse is that the greatest spiritual blessing I receive is my relationship with Jesus. All of His blessings are wonderful, but nothing compares with being loved by the One who saved me, made me a friend, lives in me, intercedes for me, guides me by His Spirit. Clearly, I receive every spiritual blessing either in Christ or from Him.
How can I make this real in my life? Internalizing this information requires a change in my mindset. I want to be so aware of God’s presence and blessings in my life that I spontaneously react with gratitude and worship. But I know I will often miss His blessings during the day just because I am busy concentrating on other things. From experience, I know that if, at the end of each day, I would think back over the blessings of the day, I’ll be more likely to recognize what God is doing and be able to pray my thanks to Him before I go to sleep. I am motivated to restart the “gratitude” book I have by my bedside, in which I used to write at least one blessing I was thankful for each day. My hope is that I will become more and more aware of His blessings as they occur.
Father, I am almost in tears rehearsing all you are to me and are giving me. No wonder Paul started this passage with “all praise!” to You. My feeble praise does not even scratch the surface of who You are and how You have blessed all who come to You. Thank You, thank You, thank You! Amen.