By Brenda Daniels
‘It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’ C S Lewis.
Do you feel yourself torn, struggling against strong desires to sin, desires that displease God? C S Lewis in the quote above turns that struggle on its head. He says that what we crave from the world – in this example ‘drink and sex and ambition’ – is actually so small and puny compared to what God offers us in Christ.
Ephesians 1 tells us that in Christ we have ‘every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.’ Every spiritual blessing! Imagine that. It makes our cravings for anything less (beauty, the approval of others, prestige) seem foolish. And yet our human, sinful hearts do struggle to appreciate Christ and be satisfied in him. We need our sisters in Christ to help us appreciate Christ more. The task of seeking God and the treasure of his wisdom is best performed as a communal project. It needn’t be undertaken on our own. Proverbs 27:17 says ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’
Spend some time now with your Freedom in Fellowship partner, ‘sharpening’ her as together you meditate on and pray through Ephesians 1 below.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 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,4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b]for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c]to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love[f] towards all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.