Finding out

Imagine a friend’s grandparents left him a life-changing inheritance in a deposit box at a bank near him. They bequeathed the key and some documents which contained details about the box to him, but he never investigated further. So, he had no idea the box existed. Instead, he hung the key as a keepsake near his front door. He’d wake up every morning for a job he didn’t enjoy that didn’t pay him enough. He’d always complain about his lot, with good reason, because life was a frustrating slog. As you read this, you may have someone in mind, but that analogy describes many of us to varying degrees because most of our struggles directly result from something within reach we don’t know [Proverbs 25:2]. I realised something recently: Ignorance always makes life harder than it should be.

Reading that last statement might be uncomfortable, but imagine life before humans discovered the wheel. Transporting goods took more effort than it does today because there was something we didn’t collectively know as a race. The friend in the previous paragraph probably toiled for a fraction of what was in the deposit box and had many sleepless nights wondering how he’d pay his bills, feed his family, etc. Yet, a life-changing discovery was always within reach, staring him in the face as he left the house every morning. When Scripture says God has given us all we need for life and godliness [2 Peter 1:3], it implies that He has placed that ability to obtain all we need within reach, but we must discover and apply the requisite principles to possess it. It’s always God’s will for us to have everything Jesus paid for on the cross [James 1:17], but that doesn’t negate our responsibilities to fulfil the conditions that transform God’s will into a lived experience [Ephesians 5:15-17]. If God is impartial toward all [Acts 10:34], have you ever wondered what differentiates our experiences of His promises?

The Bible is unequivocal about the price of ignorance: “They have neither knowledge nor understanding; they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you. Nevertheless, you shall die like mere men…” [Psalm 82:5-7]. Elsewhere, it also says: “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart” [Ephesians 4:18]. If you’re walking in darkness, alienated from the life of God, which is His word [John 6:63], life will be harder than it ought to be for you, irrespective of how powerful, wealthy or famous you are, because the word of God says so [Hosea 4:6]. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a life-changing inheritance apportioned to each of us, waiting to be discovered [Ephesians 1:18]. As a preacher once said: “The day you receive your blessing isn’t the day God decided to bless you, but the day you accessed what was always yours.” It’s a chilling statement and a truth affirmed by John 19:30. Jesus is currently seated at the Father’s right hand because He’s finished His part in our redemption story [Hebrews 1:3]. 

It struck me recently that many of my prayers asked God to do what He’d already done for me. In hindsight, those prayers made no sense. I was effectively praying amiss in ignorance and accomplishing little. For example, asking God to heal or prosper us doesn’t make sense because He has already done so [2 Corinthians 8:9, 1 Peter 2:24]. It’s akin to someone begging you for food after you’ve given them access to a buffet. Jesus cannot die again to obtain what is already ours for us. Paul tells us that Jesus made peace between God and us through His death, and His life saved us [Romans 5:10]. The Greek word translated as “saved” in that verse is sozo. It’s a word that encompasses healing, protection, preservation and being made whole in every sense. Scripture isn’t saying God will save us (future tense), but that He saved us (past tense) two thousand years ago. So, everything that comes with “salvation” is already ours. It’s not just His will for us to have them; they’ve been paid for in full. 

The enemy wants nothing more than to keep us from discovering our inheritance, and he’s pretty good at keeping us deceived and distracted with lesser things. Sadly, it’s hard for many of us to accept that God can do much more for us than we can do for ourselves. We may mentally assent to that truth, but often, our lives reflect that we don’t believe it. Imagine the day our friend eventually decides to find out what his grandparents left him. His life will be unrecognisable. Similarly, our lives will irrevocably change the day we discover and lay hold of God’s promises. The Psalmist boldly claims: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” [Psalm 34:8]. I don’t think many of us take him up on that because somehow, in our brokenness, we’ve been co-opted into believing that God isn’t really as good as His word claims. If our friend’s grandparents were alive and could observe him, they’d be saddened by their grandson’s ignorance and failure to enjoy all that is his. I believe God is also grieved whenever we live below His best because we don’t know any better despite the incalculable price He paid for us to have an abundant life [John 10:10].

I’ve barely begun my journey, but just knowing I have an inheritance has changed my outlook, and it’s my life’s goal to find out what’s in my deposit box [Proverbs 4:20-22]. I urge you to do the same, grow in the knowledge of God’s will  – His word – in all spiritual wisdom and understanding because it’s guaranteed to be better than whatever you’re experiencing today [1 Corinthians 2:9, Colossians 1:9].

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