There’s a story that goes as follows: There once was a man lost in the woods. Later, in describing his experience, he told how frightened he was. In fact, he was so frightened that he would not be found that he finally knelt and prayed to God for his rescue. Someone asked him, “Did God answer your prayer?” “Oh no, the man replied, “Before God had a chance, a guide came along and showed me the way out.”
Sadly, many people do not recognize the numerous blessings that God gives to us. Too often we focus just on the sad, depressing, negative, difficult parts of our life. Often the repetitiveness of day-to-day life can affect our vision and perspective. All it takes is to see we are all part of many daily blessings. For example, we see and hear birds chirping and see beautiful flowers and trees, but don’t give a thought that God has given us those blessings and given us senses to enjoy them. We might grumble about looking in the refrigerator and saying, “There’s nothing to eat,” forgetting that many in the world would be grateful to exchange places with us and eat anything. We have angst about not having enough money, yet we spend more on entertainment each month than many around the world earn yearly.
The Talmud, the Jewish commentary on the Old Testament, says “A man embezzles from God when he makes use of this world without uttering a blessing.” Simply stated, if you enjoy something without giving thanks, it’s as if you have stolen it from God. Anything less than gratitude is grand larceny! The Bible says in Psalm 100:4, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving…” which means we should be thanking Him as we come in the front door!
We not only receive obvious daily blessings but if you are a follower of Christ then Ephesians 1:3 says you receive all spiritual blessings. What are they and what do they do for us? The passage in Ephesians 1:3-13 outlines many of those spiritual blessings. First, let’s look at the passage:
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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
In this passage there are eight spiritual blessings:
• The first blessing listed in verse 4 says He has “chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.” What a blessing, that “even when we were dead in our sins” (Ephesians 2:5), God chose to extend His grace to us and offer us salvation.
• The second blessing in verse 5 is our adoption as His children. Not only has God chosen us to be made holy, but He grants us full status as His children, with full benefits.
• The third blessing in verse 6 is where we are made “blessed in the Beloved.” This refers to grace and gives the idea of making us favorable through Christ, the beloved of God. The blood of Christ has taken away the guilt of our sins, and we stand before the Father perfectly accepted.
• The fourth blessing in verse 7 is the redemption through His blood. Redemption means to buy one’s freedom, paying a ransom. The blood of Christ fully paid for our sins.
• The fifth blessing is also in verse 7, and is the forgiveness of sins. In paying the ransom for our sins, the debt of sin was cancelled, and we were forgiven.
• The sixth blessing in verses 8-10 is knowing the mystery of His will. God has given us wisdom and insight through His Word and has shown us His desire to bring all things together to glorify Christ.
• A seventh blessing in verse 11 is the inheritance that is given to us through Christ. What does this consist of? 1 Corinthians 2:9 says “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” The riches of glory, the presence of God, and our eternal home – it’s just a smidgeon of all blessings that belong to our inheritance.
• Finally, an eighth blessing in verse 13 is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. When we become a follower of Christ, He places His ownership on us which guarantees our eternal security.
There are many more spiritual blessings mentioned in the Bible but you get the point…we are richly blessed. As we start the year 2020 take time to identify the blessings in your life right now. Make a point to write them down and refer to them daily as you give God thanks. He is a great and mighty God who loves us and blesses us tremendously.