February 19, 2018
Every word, phrase, sentence, paragraph and page of Scripture abounds with revelation, which is to say it contains more substance and significance than we could ever extract from it. And yet we just keep moving on.
In some ways, for me, the Daily Text feels akin to that iconic scene from the old show, I Love Lucy, where Lucy and Ethel are tasked with putting wrappers on chocolate candies as they pass by on a conveyer belt. Like those chocolates, the texts just keep coming and I can’t keep up. (If you have an extra two minutes you can watch it here.)
Take for instance the incomprehensibly comprehensive phrase from v.3, “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.” It could serve as a banner over the entire letter, as no sooner than he says it, Paul starts spinning them off with a velocity only matched by his alacrity (now there’s a good word).
As an example, consider this blessing we didn’t even acknowledge from v.5: “God decided in advance to adopt us . . .”
Wait! Did he just say I was adopted? I guess every adopted kid finds out sooner or later. With the blessing of adoption comes the agony of facing the curse of abandonment. With every layer of discovered blessing comes the awareness of a deeper bereftness. You see, adoption here is not a metaphor for our relationship with God. It’s a literal reality.
The hard cold truth is God did not abandon us. We abandoned him, hiding in a forest of lies, covered in a cloak of impenetrable shame. And it remains our ingrained pattern to the present day. We aren’t bad, just broken. Here’s the deeper truth of adoption: we will discover our blessedness to the degree we face our brokenness. That’s where most all of us get stuck and why adoption is more of a concept we salute than a reality we savor.
Lately I have enjoyed observing from afar a young family on Instagram. They recently adopted a young girl who looks to be about ten years old. It’s stunning to see the way they are lavishing this girl with every possible blessing. She’s learning to dance and sing and really, to be a child. They want to take her everywhere and show her everything. It’s like they want her to know that everything they are and have now belongs to her because she now belongs to them.
That’s what salvation is; not a one-time transaction in a ledger in the sky somewhere but the unending full faith and credit of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms crashing through the invisible barriers that separate us from God and each other, invading the old order with a newness that never loses its resplendent sheen.
LENTEN INSIGHT: Because Lent has been so associated with fasting over the centuries, it has taken on a general tone of dourness. As Christians, we must approach the journey to the Cross in the light of the Resurrection. We are not trying to simulate some kind of pre-resurrection reality. It is because of the resurrection that we journey to the Cross. For that reason, the 40 days of Lent do not include the Sundays. Sundays, the Day of Resurrection, are always feast days. This also has the effect of crushing the pride of those who are keeping score with their fasting; enabling fasting to be about hunger for God and not some kind of spiritual contest. ;0)
Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who took on our brokenness and who would make it a thing of beauty if we would walk in this blessed way of the Cross with him. I want to know this way. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
- Have you ever reflected on this notion of being blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms?
- How do these concepts like adoption and redemption become more than abstract concepts in our understanding?
- What do you make of this thought about the connection between our experience of the blessing of adoption being related to our awareness of the curse of abandonment
P.S. The Daily Text Community, from the Farm Team to the far reaches, fasts together each Wednesday. We’ve put together a weekly guide to help. If you’ve not done it yet, now (the first week of Lent) would be a great time to begin. Sign up here today. You will get the first email tomorrow and hit the ground running on Wednesday.
P.S.S. In case you missed our Daily Text 4th Birthday Party on Saturday, we are keeping the deal on Daily Text books open through the end of the week. Use the code DTBD.
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.