Some folks are naturally optimists. I’m not one of those people. I’m the type of person who can feel discouragement easily. Perhaps that’s why I am called to pen a devotional under the title of “Be Encouraged!” Whether you’re an optimist or not, do realize that as a follower of Jesus Christ you are blessed and loved.
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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:3-6, ESV
Several things stand out to me as I read this passage of Scripture:
- God blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing (in the heavenly places).
- God chose us in Jesus Christ so we should be holy and blameless before Him.
- God loved us and adopted us through Jesus Christ.
- God has blessed us in Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will.
That’s a lot of love and blessing coming from our Heavenly Father. It’s all through our Lord, Jesus Christ. None of this promises that we will escape physical or emotional hardship. None of this is a guarantee that you’ll always get a fair shake in this life. What is promised is spiritual blessing. What is promised is an eternal relationship. It does boil down to physical versus spiritual. Too often we focus on the physical. However, the physical is short term. It goes away. It doesn’t last. The spiritual does. The spiritual is eternal. Paul is telling us to remember the eternal.
Here’s an analogy. I can give you $10,000 today or I can give you $10 a day for the next 10 years. Which is the better deal? Throwing out the extra day during a leap year, there are 365 days in a year. That means with the second deal you get $3,650 per year. Over 10 years that’s $36,500. In the short term that $10,000 looks really nice. However, if you are willing to be patient, you make out over the long term. While it will take 3 years to surpass the up front money of the first deal, over 10 years you get greater than three times more.
That’s how it is with physical versus spiritual. Too many people are grabbing after that $10,000 and want everything to be perfect in this lifetime. They want to escape hardship and live an easy life. And some of these folks are willing to do just about anything to get that sort of life. However, for the Christian we have a promise of so much more. We have a promise of blessing for eternity. We have God’s love forever. If you feel the least bit discouraged, remember those two things. If you’re going through hardship right now, remember that more is promised than what happens in this lifetime. Be encouraged, for you are blessed and loved!