Blessed? – Jeremy Austill

Thoughts derived from Ephesians 1:3

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who has blessed us with every SPIRITUAL blessing in the heavenly realms
because we are united with Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

If you have heard me speak
in recent years you have likely heard me quote Eugene Peterson as he says, “All
theology is rooted in geography.” This is a simple way of saying our view of
scripture and perspective of God is influenced by the home we grew up in,
church experiences, the city from which we come, the state we love, the region
of the nation we have predominantly resided, our racial heritage, our national
citizenship, and even the hemisphere in which we live. This is not to say we
are all in error. It is simply an important acknowledgement that my world
creates a lens through which I view everything, even the Lord.

Nowhere in my faith is this
more evident than when it comes to the word “blessings”. As a middle class
American I feel fairly confident my idea of blessing is different than someone
in a third world country. Our society is extremely materialistic and at times
wretchedly shallow. I cannot pretend to be superior and deny that some (or a
lot) of those attributes have crept into my soul. All I have known is
Americana, to ignore its influence on my spiritual life is the equivalent of
sticking my head in the sand.

The following in not an attempt
to establish a moratorium…

I would like to think I am
grateful for the THINGS I have. I also believe it is of utmost importance to
acknowledge that ultimately, all I have (home, automobiles, bank account, etc.)
is because of a benevolent Father in heaven. Please don’t misread the next
statement as a black and white edict, but at times I struggle with the thought
that I have stuff and others don’t. Does this mean I am more blessed? More
favored? More highly regarded by God? I still call these things blessings and
consider myself blessed to have what I have. However, in all likelihood much of
what I have is an indicator of being a good steward, being responsible, taking
advantage of the opportunities provided by the Lord and applying Biblical
principles to our family life. However, because of the culture in which I am
immersed, it is easy to assume these things are the ultimate mark of God’s
blessing and favor. When in reality, there are many godless people who are far
more “blessed” than I.

I love what Paul says
above…”blessed us with every SPIRITUAL blessing in the heavenly realms.”

hope / grace / peace / love /
joy / patience / harmony / presence / mercy / kindness / goodness / beauty / self
control / etc.

I have the sneaking
suspicion as Paul was engaging the Ephesians, these were the words he had in
mind as he penned “blessings”. I will remain grateful for the things I have,
but I desire to focus more of my attention on the spiritual blessings. They supersede
circumstances. They are of greater substance than possessions. They know no

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