Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"By Christ Jesus"

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).

Our present inheritance includes "all spiritual blessings," but not all earthly blessings.

"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:12-13).

In the perfection of His loving wisdom, God determines and allows both fullness and hunger, abundance and need during our earthly lives. We need experience of both because one of the great lessons we are presently learning is that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the heart and essence of everything God gives to us. "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). Note the last three words: "by Christ Jesus." In some manner, our Savior is the true Gift of every gift. He created us, He sustains our being, and He is our life. Having Him, we have everything our heart will ever need, and thus, the fullness of our blessing at present is, as Paul declared, "spiritual" (John 1:3; Colossians 1:17; 3:4).

When we abound in earthly blessing and give thanks, we experience the truth that Christ is the gift of God. When we lack, but nevertheless trust God and give thanks, we experience the truth that Christ is the gift of God. Again, we need both aspects of life in order to fully discover the wonder of our heart-filling Savior, and we can be sure our Heavenly Father will orchestrate experiences of both as He reveals within us the truth of "by Christ Jesus." "He is thy life" declared Moses of old to Israel (Deuteronomy 30:20). How much more is such truth true for born again believers, in whom dwells the permanently abiding Holy Spirit?

Can the Lord Jesus fill and fulfill us in any condition, situation, and circumstance? Is He that present, that able, that willing, and that filling and fulfilling? Through the ages, testimonies ring from palaces and prisons, from mansions and squalid hovels, from soft pillows and painful sickbeds, and from full bellies and empty. Yes He is, and yes He can! This is the heart of Christian revelation, that human beings were made to be the spiritual temple of God. When we become that temple and the Spirit of God takes residence within us, His light shines in our personal Holy of holies regardless of what may be taking place in the outer courts. We must believe this truth with all our hearts because days of both abundance and lack are coming for us as they did for the Apostle who learned that contentment is Christ, known and trusted. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.

Fullness and emptiness. Abundance and hunger. Full cupboards and bare. All are venues wherein the glory of our Savior can be known as "by Christ Jesus" increasingly becomes our confession and anthem. Indeed, the believer need never suffer an empty heart because "all spiritual blessings" are already ours. Therefore, the only thing we cannot afford to lose, we cannot lose. Our Lord Himself is the heart of all blessings, and in the truest sense, we have all when we have Him.

"And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God."
(Acts 16:25)

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