Week 2 of 52-week Ephesians Quiet Times Series entitled “Living As One New Man”…
“Lift Up Your Eyes”
Living As One New Man #2
Read Ephesians 1:3
When you think of all the blessings given to you by God, what comes to your mind? I am instantly filled with thoughts of my marriage to Karla, my family, our friends, our job, finances, investments, health, a great golf swing (well, not so much), a roof over our heads, and much more. For sure, all of these are gifts for which I need to be very grateful. However, they are material blessings, and not what Paul had in mind here.
Paul reminds us that God deserves our praise for blessing us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. That phrase “heavenly realms” occurs five times in Ephesians (1:3, 20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12). What does that really mean? According to F.F. Bruce, the heavenly realm is that place where Christ resides. It means, “even if they (Christians) live on earth in mortal bodies, they can enter into the good of their heavenly inheritance here and now through the ministry of the Spirit.” The blessings we receive in Christ include being chosen in Him a long time ago, being adopted by God as His sons and daughters, redemption, forgiveness of our sins, the gift of the Spirit, and hope and glory forever! Did you get all that? I will talk more about those things in the coming weeks, but for now, it is enough to think about the reality that we live here on earth, but have a vital existence right now in the heavenly realms. It is where our calling really is, where we find real security, where our hope really resides, and where our hearts really belong.
I have been so blessed by God with earthly riches. But, I have to be very careful to not let anything I have or lack here on earth really affect me. This earth and everything in it is temporary and fleeting. It may seem solid, but it will pass away before I know it. This is why the Bible reminds us to keep lifting our eyes to heaven and focusing on the spiritual, eternal realms (Phil. 3:19-21, Col. 3:1-4).
The lure of Satan is to get us distracted and consumed with everything in this world, so much so that we forget that to be really effective for God, we have to live here in the world, but intentionally set our minds on things above. For us, it literally is a matter of life and death. As C.S. Lewis said, “The Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have begun thinking less of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you get neither.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
1. How often do you think of things in the spiritual realms? Are you more grateful for earthly or spiritual blessings? What can you do to lift your eyes and set your heart on things above?