As I reflect on my life, I am convinced that my greatest deficiency is not truly knowing, comprehending and believing how God feels about me. As Christians, we often make very profound statements flippantly, like: “I am a child of God”. Such a statement has huge implications for us and God. God is The King, and the Bible says we are heirs with God’s Son, Jesus to His inheritance. This is equally profound. Now, no earthly king would be pleased to see his heir walking around with his or her head bowed low, defeated by life. How much more our heavenly Father? What earthly king will be indifferent to the challenges of his heir? How much more our heavenly Father, how could He be indifferent to what goes on in our lives?
I recently participated in a Bible study on effective prayer. By the end of the study, I was struck by the fact that God desires so much more for me than I ask Him for. My prayers seem so limited when compared to what God desires for me. For instance, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians contains two marvellous prayers. In chapter one, He prays that: “[God] may give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…that the eyes of our heart be enlightened so that we will know the hope of [God’s] calling…the riches of the glory in the inheritance of the saints and what is the surpassing greatness of God’s power towards those who believe…”[Ephesians 1:15-19].
Later on, Paul also prays that “… [God] may grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being. So that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, and that being rooted and grounded in love, we may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, length, height and depth of God’s love for us…which surpasses all knowledge. So that we may be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” [Ephesians 3:16-19]. These are God’s intentions towards you and me. How different would your life be if you operated in the wisdom and revelation of who Jesus is? How would you approach your troubles if you believed that the surpassing greatness of God’s power was acting on your behalf? How would you behave in trials and triumphs if you understood the true extent of God’s love for you?
To live victoriously, we must understand the provisions God has made for us through His grace because we are His heirs. If the two prayers above were manifested in our lives, there would be no room for anxiety or fear. Astonishingly, the Bible tells us that God desires to give us more. Imagine being stuck in a maze with multiple doors. The architect of the maze wants to give you the master key to all the doors, but you’re so focused on asking for the key to the door in front of you, that you miss out on the master key. Unfortunately, in my prayers, I often focus on asking God to solve just my immediate problems when I could ask for more. Peter tells us that God has already given us all we need for life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3]. In those Ephesian prayers and others like Colossians 1:9-12, I find a delectable banquet of blessings laid out for me, containing all I need to face life with confidence. I simply have to know, comprehend and believe them.
I think of the parable of the great banquet [Luke 14:15-24]. The initial invitees had other priorities and didn’t turn up. They missed out on the opportunity to feast with the King for lesser priorities. Are we doing the same? Paul reminds us that all God’s promises find their “yes” in Christ [2 Corinthians 1:20]. Therefore, if we’re to experience them, we must be in Christ. From the dawn of mankind, God has always sought a relationship with us [Genesis 3:8]. Paul tells us that part of our redemption story is being raised and seated up with Christ in heavenly places [Ephesians 2:6]. A relationship with God i.e. being “in Christ” isn’t imposed on us against our free will, like those invited to the feast, we must choose to be there.
God longs for us to experience life through the context of our relationship with Him. If we do, then our problems, challenges and needs fade into obscurity when we see ourselves from God’s perspective. I believe the devil fights hard to prevent us from seeing ourselves as sons and daughters of The King. For if we saw ourselves as God sees us and truly understood that nothing can separate us from the love of God [Romans 8:31-39], then we would walk through life victoriously regardless of circumstance. We would also cease from striving to attain what God has already promised us and enter His rest [Hebrews 4:1-11]. This is what Paul is praying that we experience in this life.
Unfortunately, like those invited to the banquet in Jesus’ parable, I often decline God’s invitation because I have other priorities. Therefore, I rob myself of feasting with The King as I chase perishable things. I rob myself of experiencing God keep His promise to meet my every need as I choose self-sufficiency and self-determination over trusting Him. Thankfully, God relentlessly pursues me and reminds me that His invitation is still open. I realise now that my anxieties about life stem from not knowing the details of God’s plans for my present and future. So, instead of stressing myself out over those details, I need to accept God’s invitation to place my confidence in Him, take my seat at His banquet and enter His rest.