Our society likes to talk about stress. When’s the last time you heard someone say, “I’ve been so stressed,” or, “I’m under a lot of stress”?
An hour ago, maybe?
The pace of so many of our lives can do harm to our souls. That stress is real. I feel it. I’m overcommitted.
The Lenten season is a built-in time to re-calibrate around the core tenets of our faith –– that Christ came, died, was buried, and rose again. As Christians, we culminate the season celebrating His victory over death, on Easter Sunday, or Resurrection Sunday.
What is stress if we have Christ?
Well, for one, it’s real, and it’s something that Jesus Himself kindly walks through with us. We are not alone. We can come to Him when we’re weary and heavy-laden, for He provides us with rest.
Another tenet of our faith that ought to be looked at this time of year: in Christ, our God and Father has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” On Sunday, we looked at Ephesians 1 –– a gem of a passage which fairly comprehensively, and richly, sums up our reality as Christians.
Let’s look at the following section of the passage:
“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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Here are three key truths we can take from these few verses that may provide perspective for the stress we’re facing:
1. We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
As Christians, we have been saved from sin. We have been accepted. We have been redeemed. We have not been left alone, but we have been given the Holy Spirit. We will one day be reconciled to God. And we are being made holy –– conformed to the image of Christ.
We are not simply “bailed out.” Every spiritual blessing is ours. We are new, having been raised with Christ.
2. We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world and predestined for adoption
I’m neither a Seminarian nor a Sojourn elder, so I won’t broach the tangly topic of predestination, but I will celebrate the truth Paul shares in Ephesians 1. In spite of our shortcomings –– past, present, and future –– the all-knowing God chose us before the foundation of the world. Weak, broken me was chosen, and Jesus –– seeing all my warts and knowing all my thoughts –– endured the cross so that I might be with Him. Bringing nothing to the table but filthy rags, God had mercy and predestined me for adoption, and I have been accepted as a son, covered by the blood of Christ.
3. We shall be holy and blameless before Him
The pace of my Christian walk often feels slow. I take two steps forward only to take another back. But if I believe the Bible, I know that I’ll be made ready. He who began a good work in me will accomplish it. And I will be made ready; I will be presented holy and blameless before him.
Though life may feel like it’s unraveling and untended to-do lists grow sideways and wild, we can rest on the firm truths of Ephesians 1 this Lenten season.