Heavenly Places

August 26, 2019

 “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…” (Ephesians 1:3, ESV)

          I remember this verse jumping out at me when I taught Ephesians many years ago. The verse and its truth has remained with me. At the time, I found it difficult to consider the full reality of what it communicated. “I have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ?” Whoa, does that mean what I think it means? After the initial shock, this word started to drill down deep in my bones. Later, it connected with Jesus’s Kingdom of the Heavens message, making what God was doing in my soul all the more rich.
          The main point for me concerned the presence of God. Up until I really took this verse to heart, I figured God had a nice home in the heavenlies beyond me—way beyond me and the universe. I had to stop and listen as the truth of God’s presence took up residence in my soul. He’s not far off, He’s right here! Accessible! More than that, I get all those other phenomenal blessings. But then I realized, what could top God’s interactive presence with me in a real way?

          I started seeing the Apostle Paul differently too. I saw him writing based on his own experience of God’s interactive presence with him. I see that as the source of his amazing ministry in the first century. So his words found their motivation in his experience and their precision from his great mind, filled with the Spirit. I’m very grateful for his perspective and experience.

          So what happens to me with these thoughts swirling in my life?  My lens on God’s activity and presence changed. My sense of what the Scriptures indicated moved from information to a description of reality, where normal means perceived interaction with God. Prayer changed from lists and instructions for God, to relational interaction on the fly with God in life—all of life, not just ministry. Out of it all came a growing recognition of God’s invitations, overtures and whispers awaiting my response and catered to my immediate circumstances. It still takes practice and I miss a lot of things. Yet, each day I bask in the expectation of God’s interaction with me from the heavenly places around me where the blessing of His presence remains constant.

 

Warmly in Christ,

 

Doug Mitts
 

 

For Reflection:
 

“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:7–8, ESV)

  1. How have you noticed God interacting with you the past few weeks? What themes, ideas, conversations, desires or curiosities have recurred most frequently in recent days?

  2. What might God do through you if you turned your self-talk into a conversation with Him?

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