October 28, 2023 | Dan Low
I love the way that Paul invites the Ephesians and us to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has BLESSED us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (1:3). Already given every good and perfect gift from our Father, the apostle provides us with a small sampling of our new identity in Christ: chosen, predestined, adopted, forgiven, redeemed, sealed, alive, saved, and reconciled. We are truly and forever blessed by our heavenly Father with his beloved Son and through his indwelling Spirit.
Along with these priceless gifts, we are also blessed through our families, friendships, church, studies, work, travels, hobbies, and so many other good things that we often take for granted.
Knowing how much God has blessed us, we can’t help but be THANKFUL. We usually identify love as the distinguishing mark of real disciples (John 13:34-35). That’s definitely true. But there’s more to genuine faith. A vibrant Spirit-filled community that revolves around Jesus consistently displays a grateful heart (Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Whenever we vocalize our gratitude, our praise to God helps others to hang in there and trust in his provision. While our not-yet-believing friends may not tap into a theology podcast or read J. I. Packer’s Knowing God, we become their Bible instructor when we talk about God’s goodness to us. Our words of praise enable them to catch an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the Lord whose steadfast love endures forever.
Being blessed in Christ and thankful to God, we model GIVING toward others. We gladly give to others because God graciously gives to us. By sharing our talents, wisdom, calendar, and money, we spread the blessing that we have received. As we bless others with a heart that joyfully serves and freely gives, our sacrifice will overflow in many thanksgivings to God (2 Corinthians 9:12).
We sometimes imagine that it’s only the headliner gifts that count. But from heaven’s vantage point, it’s the everyday, heartfelt giving of ourselves that adds up for eternity.
Let’s begin each day with a simple prayer that rejoices in some of the specific ways that we are BLESSED in Christ. Bring a THANKFUL outlook into our conversations with others, enumerating how God has shown us his mercy and kindness. Ask the Lord to replicate his heart in us so that our GIVING might lead others to receive his love.