The Purpose Of His Will

Thursday, October 31, 2013, 8:26 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “His Name is Wonderful” playing in my mind. I used to sing that in a medley of choruses when I was a teenager many years ago in Akron, Ohio. So, it’s an oldie. The song is based off Isaiah 9:6. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 1 (NIV).

Every Spiritual Blessing

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.

I was sitting at lunch today, beginning to read this passage of scripture again. I didn’t get past the first sentence when I started thinking about all the spiritual blessings I have in Christ Jesus. This list (following) is what initially came to my mind, although I know there are probably hundreds more spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus that I could add to this list: Salvation, faith, forgiveness, knowledge, grace, understanding, encouragement, faithfulness, hope, love, joy, peace, healing, strength, wisdom, counsel, guidance, assurance, truth, the Word of God, Father God, The Son – Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, comfort, discernment, patience, kindness, gentleness, mercy, the body of Christ, Christian fellowship, eternal life, and the list goes on and on and on.

I think sometimes we take for granted all that we have in Christ. Other times, when things are going tough in our lives, we forget all that we have in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus has blessed me with the gift of writing spiritual songs the past 2.5 years. These songs are for devotional purposes and to encourage the body of Christ, and they encourage me, too. I was listening to some of the most recent ones again this morning, and since they are all based off scripture, they spoke volumes to my heart in the way of encouragement, hope, truth, assurance, God’s faithfulness and all his many spiritual blessings he has provided for me. They encouraged and strengthened my heart that God is absolutely in control of every circumstance in my life, and that he will work out all things for my good. Amen!

So, when things in this life weigh in on us, and we begin to believe Satan’s lies that all is hopeless, or that we somehow have to take matters into our own hands in order to make things work like we think they should, we need to be reminded of who we are in Christ, if we truly are in Christ, and of all the many riches with which God has blessed us. For example, He chose us. He didn’t have to, but he did. But he didn’t choose us just so we could go to heaven one day, as wonderful as that will be. He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight. The way this happens is that first of all Jesus Christ died on the cross, taking upon himself the sins of the entire world, so that when he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, but when he rose again, he conquered death, hell, Satan and sin, triumphing over them by the cross. In other words, he died so we can live, but not just in heaven, but so we could live and walk in his righteousness while we still live on this earth. And, we do this by faith, because his righteousness lives within us.

The Purpose of His Will

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, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

I was reminded of this again last night and this morning that God works out everything in my life in conformity with the purpose of his will, so I might be for the praise of his glory. So, what does that mean? I believe it means, for me, that I just need to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ with the circumstances of my life, pray to God for wisdom and understanding, accept that I will not understand everything, but that is ok, then do what he instructs me to do, believe him to work it all out according to his plan and purposes, and then just rest in him. I think sometimes, as humans, we wish God would hurry up and act, but he has his perfect timing and his perfect reasons for doing everything the way he does them when he does them, and I just have to believe him and trust him, even when I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, he will give me the peace and assurance I need to keep going.

As well, when we believed in Christ, we were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. I hear a lot of people throw out that word “believe” or “faith” rather casually without really explaining what it means to believe or to have faith. What does faith look like? If you were to describe faith, how would you explain it? How does the Bible define it? I believe the Bible teaches that faith is the act of believing God for who he is, for what he has done, and for what he said he will yet do, even when we can’t see the immediate results or the fulfillments of what has been promised to us. This faith or belief is not a mere intellectual assent or acknowledgment or even an emotional realization of such a fact of his salvation, but it is realized in our lives by what we do, i.e. by how we act upon what we know and believe to be true. In other words, if I truly believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to set me free from sin, and that he came to give me a new life in Christ Jesus so that I could live and walk in freedom and in his righteousness, then faith allows God to work a heart transformation in my life by his grace and does not resist it nor deny it, but submits to the cross in my own life (see Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 John; Rom. 6; and Gal. 2:20).

Remembering You in My Prayers

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. 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, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Wow! That is some prayer!! What would happen, do you think, if we all began praying for one another like this? I think so often we are good about praying for people when they are sick or in need or in distress or when they are sorrowful and hurting, but how often do we pray with such spiritual depth for our brothers and sisters in Christ? I know this challenges my heart! We, as believers in Jesus Christ, are in a spiritual battle. Satan pulls out all the stops to try to trip us up and to try to get us to fall flat on our faces. We need regular doses of encouragement from the body of Christ, and we need to be praying for one another. And, our prayers need to go beyond the shallow words of “God bless so and so.” Our prayers need to be specific, heart-felt, even passionate, and truly believing God to answer.

We all need regular doses of wisdom. I know I do! We need to know Christ better, no matter how long we have known him or how close of a relationship we have with him, or else we need to be reminded of what we already know and sometimes forget. We need to have enlightened hearts to know the hope to which God has called us. Many believe their hope is solely in their promise of heaven. Oh, how incomplete! Our hope is for this life, too, that we would allow Jesus Christ to live his life in us and out through us into the lives of others that they may come to know and experience him, too, in all his fullness! Our hope is that we would submit to our Lord and to his will for our lives so that his righteousness can be revealed in us. Our hope, too, is that we might live holy lives pleasing to him, victorious over sin and self because of what he did for us on the cross in saving us from our sin - all in his power within us. And, that hope, too, is in believing in the absolute sovereignty of God over our lives, over our circumstances, over the people in our lives, over our world and governments, and in trusting that the Lord has it all worked out according to his plans and his purposes for our good and for his glory. So, we need to pray this for one another!

His Name is Wonderful / Audrey Mieir

…He is the mighty King, master of everything…
He's the great Shepherd, the Rock of all ages,
Almighty God is He;
Bow down before Him, love and adore Him,
His name is Wonderful, Jesus, my Lord.