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In Him

Read This Week: Ephesians 1

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. – Ephesians 1:3-11 NIV

From the very early stages of our lives, we try to satisfy an inner desire to be accepted. We hunger for attention and are constantly searching for people to love us. We strive to acquire things and achieve goals, hoping that our success will give us an identity and appreciation from others.

In spite of our efforts, the approval we desperately want is never fully satisfied. We struggle to find lasting peace and fulfillment in the things we attain and in other people. But our desire for all of this is just a by-product of a deeper emotional and spiritual need. A need that can only be met by a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The Bible provides an outline for discovering our true identity and few books communicate this better than Ephesians. In these passages, we see that God has given us the promise of heaven and a relationship with Him on earth. These truths answer our deepest questions and longings about our ultimate purpose.

Paul starts his letter to the Ephesians by thanking God for all of the spiritual blessings and benefits that are enjoyed through a relationship with Jesus. He then uses the phrase, in Him several times in the following verses to lay out what those blessings and benefits are. Paul makes it clear that nothing found in and of ourselves is superior to what can be experienced in Him.

In Him, we are chosen and accepted. God chose us even before He created the universe and our salvation is not based on anything we did or have to do, but fully on His grace. He chose us in Christ and not because of who we are trying to be. Therefore, we cannot make ourselves acceptable to God. By his grace and good pleasure, He accepts us in Christ. This is our eternal identity that will never change.

In Him, we have purpose and direction. When we are redeemed through Christ’s finished work on the cross, it means we have been purchased and set free. Free from the law or trying to earn God’s favor. Free from the power of sin and our fallen nature that keeps us confused about who we are. Free from the accusations of the world that we are worthless and without hope. Within this freedom, is the power to live out the purpose God has for our lives and the ability to glorify Him in everything we do. Without this connection, we can do nothing that glorifies God, but with this relationship, even the small things have a purpose.

As we discover our purpose in Him, we find direction. Ephesians 1:8-10, tells us that “With all wisdom and understanding, he (God) made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” In Him, we can know God’s will for our lives and even the plan He has laid out for us. It’s no longer a mystery when we follow Christ. We don’t exist in the dark nor do we have to chase a million other things to have vitality in life. Our purpose provides clarity that gives us the freedom to live to the fullest.

In Him, we have a future. God deals with us based on our future, not our past. This passage tells us that in Christ, we have an inheritance. We are valuable to God as He paid the price for us and makes us part of His eternal legacy. We don’t have to worry or base our identity on what we can accumulate on earth. Our future is secure because of awaits us in eternity.

Ephesians 1 provides spiritual power and relief for the follower of Christ. It says there is “incomparably great power for us who believe.” And that “power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” That is some other-worldly power sufficient to give us all the hope, peace, and joy we need to be successful.

It shows that our identity is not in the positions we hold, the effectiveness of our work or who our friends are. Instead, it is found in being God’s creation and the object of His love. We don’t have to live one more second with a performance-oriented perspective. What we do or don’t accomplish in this fleeting world doesn’t have one bearing on who we are as people. Our lives have wholistic value in Christ and we are called by God to embrace this truth and apply it.

9 Comments

  1. Jeri Centers on August 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    I got a poem from Ephesians 1 verse 13:

    Sometimes down inside, I feel this warmth within
    Coming from a place so deep I can’t explain.
    There’s a sense of peace and inspired calm as it fills my heart with joy.
    Until I’m filled with so much gladness.

    As I take everything in, I come alive.
    The feeling and the words, I can’t describe.
    I want to harness it, so I always feel this way
    I want to release it every second of the day.

    And what that means to me is sometimes way down deep,
    A feeling rises up and swells
    I know it comes from a place where the Holy Spirit dwells.

    • Jason on August 9, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      This is a beautiful and artistic expression of the joy and peace of the Lord illustrated in Ephesians 1, Jerri. Thank you for sharing this from your deep heart. One of my favorite lines is: “I want to harness it, so I always feel this way. I want to release it every second of the day.”

      That resonated with me as I want to have and draw upon the peace and joy of the Lord every day and not just in the moments where I need it or when I’m on a spiritual high. I appreciate this poetic reminder of such a wonderful truth about our relationship with Jesus.

  2. Trina Barnhardt on August 10, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    The Epistle of Ephesians, written by Paul the Apostle, to the people of Ephesus begins with chapter one. Christ is the focus of Paul’s letter. Paul emphasizes the direct correlation of salvation and a predetermined power made available through the resurrection of Christ. Paul lays the stepping stone foundation of all the firstfruits as blessings.

    Throughout chapter one, Paul refers to the church as the body of Christ, of which Christ is the living head. Ephesians 1:20-22. As a body, members of the church draw strength from the Head, who has been exalted above every spiritual power. Paul offers a prayer that those reading his letter might realize how important they are to God and understand the power that God has made available through the resurrection of Christ. Ephesians 1:7-22.

    What this all means to me is that we have been chosen and appointed beforehand to receive the wonderful blessings from Christ. We have been chosen and appointed for His will. Ephesians 1:5 says in having a relationship with Christ, we receive all of those blessings that he has bestowed upon His family because we are all a part of God’s family. (The Church) No man cometh between us and the Father of Glory. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the heart and fills the heart with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shines brightly and blesses us and others with the gift of ultimate love (Grace) so that others can see that beautiful Spirit-filled light shining brightly in the body of God’s children. This great power is free for all who choose to believe. Seek God’s face. Bask in his warm Spirit and become more like Him.

    He already knows the individual plan for each and every one of us. I am so excited to be able to grow and become more like my Spiritual Father. I am blessed beyond measure.

    • Jason on August 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you for all of this rich insight and commentary on Ephesians 1, Trina. It is obvious that you love God’s word and that you glean deeply from the truths of Scripture. I am blessed to be reminded today of this in your comment:

      “This great power is free for all who choose to believe. Seek God’s face, bask in his warm Spirit and become more like Him. He already knows the individual plan for each and every one of us.”

  3. Heidi on August 10, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Ephesians 1:3-4 says, “May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm! 4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.”

    I just love this letter written from Paul to encourage our personal faith in Jesus. It gives teaching, prayers and great praises to God. It is all about God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Paul shows us so many blessings in this letter.

    What these verses mean to me is God chose us, loves us so much that He loves to bless us all the time. The best blessing is Jesus Chris. Thank you, God, for Jesus! Other blessings are God’s wisdom and knowledge. They are a gift for you to be able to use to help you to solve your problems daily.

    As you spend time with God 24-7, seeking Him asking Him to help you, listening and then responding to His instructions, and His guidance, you will be blessed. Then when you share what you have learned to help others, it is a blessing to them. God gets all the glory and He loves it when you share and give Him all the praise.

    So, keep seeking Him, learning and sharing how much God loves others. The greatest blessing in life is being a great servant like Jesus.

    • Jason on August 14, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      I appreciate your insight on Ephesians 1, Heidi. I loved this point: “They are a gift for you to be able to use to help you to solve your problems daily.” This is a good reminder of what we often forget about the principles and precepts of God’s word that it is relevant to every situation that we encounter every day. It is sufficient for life and living.

  4. almaschmidt on August 10, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    God blessed me with a song called, “Honoring You”

    We love to honor and praise you
    Honor and praise you
    Honor and praise you, our Lord

    You have a plan, a plan for all of us
    Loving and serving, being your messenger

    Honor and praise you
    Honor and praise you, our Lord
    Honor and praise you, our Lord

    • Jason on August 13, 2019 at 10:14 am

      This is a beautifully worded tribute to the Lord, Alma. May we all love and serve Him and be His messengers today in our words and deeds. Blessings!

  5. Kathy on August 14, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    In Ephesians 1 this is what God was speaking to me. If you think little of what I have done for you, you will do very little for Me. I give you spiritual blessings, which are far better that material blessings. You are made in My image and I have something much higher for you. Every blessing you receive, you receive in Christ. I have chosen you, and I have a plan for you. If you are chosen in Christ, it is outside yourselves. It is not from you deserving it. You are chosen not only for salvation, but also for holiness. My plan for you includes salvation and personal transformation. Your acceptance is granted to you because of My grace. Jesus redeemed you only by his death in your place- by His blood.My plan is to bring together all things in Christ. In Him you have an inheritance. The power that works in you is the mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead. With this mighty power available to you, there never needs to be a power shortage in your life.
    With this is saying to me is that I have been redeemed by the power of the Holy Spirit and because of Jesus’s death on the cross in my place. Its neat to know Because of Him, there will never be a power shortage in my life, as long as I don’t unplug from the source..

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