So, this past week marked the true beginning of a Bible study I’m starting with some friends. While the blog readership is growing, I felt that my personal growth needed a shot in the arm, so the group going through Ephesians seemed to be the obvious answer to helping maintain a focus in God’s word. Admittedly, I do not spend nearly enough time in the Word, so having to prepare for each week seemed like a great inciting incident to kick-start this effort. I really need to watch what I wish for, however.
This chapter, primarily verses 3-14, have unearthed a few aspects of my childhood I realized abruptly during a quiet time that have not been fully resolved. I was having a tough time going through all the promises and blessings, but could not for the life of me figure out where the hang up was deep beneath my calm surface. That is the moment when God dredged up this realization.
I have always been a people-pleaser and it has always been to the extent of my detriment. This is because I have been trying to please my dad ever since I can remember. I told some of the least believable lies growing up just so I would not disappoint him. My parents separated over 7 years ago and have since divorced, but the most devastating impact of that event was not his absence, but that I was not valuable or worthy enough to warrant my dad sticking around.
I know it was never about me and he has told me many times that he is proud of me, but I am always wary of the least displeasure I may be causing him at any moment. In the back of my head, I think I’m still waiting for him to leave me behind for good. I think just about everyone I know is ready to do the same, however this is also based on my own experience.
I’ve taken this to the point of projecting it on my heavenly Father. I am convinced that God has kept me around for some reason I cannot explain, but is constantly disappointed every time I sin and fail Him. He is gracious, so He forgives me, but then it is up to me to earn my forgiveness. God, how fallen is my young heart?
First of all, Paul asserts in Ephesians that God has given me every spiritual blessing. Every gift that could be imagined (or that can’t be) has already been given to me to enjoy for His glory. Let me emphasize, already.
Second, (without going too deep theologically) He chose me before the beginning of the earth as His. Long before time, He in His wisdom and power decided I should be viewed as holy and blameless. Honestly, I’m not even going to try to understand fully how this works, but God is infinitely wise and must know what He’s doing.
Here’s the curveball in my thinking and that is I have been adopted as a son. God saw me in such a way that through redeeming my evil heart and adopting me as His own forever, He could bring Himself more glory. In other words, He found some sort of value in me. Being that this was at the beginning of the universe, it could not have been based upon any action of my own.
Not only do I have redemption, but in all wisdom and insight, He has lavished His grace upon me and continues to do so daily. God thought all this through. After thinking it all through, He still decided that redeeming me was a good idea. All of this because in the process I could be useful.
It is all part of God’s mysterious plan to redeem all of creation. I play a part in God’s great drama. I’m a story within the greater Story. I don’t know about you, but the honor of playing a part in this masterpiece is one of the greatest honors. Now I ask, for how long?
This is where God blows my mind, or what’s left of it. All these things have been promised to me and that promise sealed with the only thing with which God could seal any promise. Himself. The Holy Spirit has been given to me as both a promise of my inheritance as an adopted son as well as a sort of down payment on that inheritance. Literally, the only thing I have done is hear His word and believe.
In the pursuit of starting a Bible study, I have succeeded in that as well as once again wrecking my perception of both God and the world. I think the bottom line here is that God is far greater than my mind can give Him credit for in a lot of instances. Steadily, He is revealing Himself, but it’s only when He knows I am ready to deal with the mire that is my heart that is standing in my way of believing that particular truth. Here’s to charging ahead and keeping our stories progressing forward.