“Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children through Jesus Christ—that we might learn to praise that glorious generosity of his which has made us welcome in the everlasting love he bears towards the Son.”
– Ephesians 1:5, PHILLIPS paraphrase –
Pneumonia has a way of simplifying life.
At least, that’s what it just did for me.
Like any illness, it got in the way. I couldn’t keep my appointments and I wasn’t a very productive citizen the past 2 weeks.
But when I thought about God during my illness, something unexpected happened.
Since I didn’t feel like doing much, I decided against long devotional times or heavy theological ponderings.
So I just thought about Jesus.
These weren’t long thoughts, or especially original.
But when I didn’t feel like doing anything, it was comforting to remember Who loves me.
Thinking about the love, grace, and kindness of my Savior brought worship into my heart, even though I didn’t feel especially devout while lying on a recliner with a fever and cough.
A friend on Instagram recently took a photo of her morning’s reading in Ephesians, so I opened up to Ephesians 1 a few nights ago. The powerful, affectionate language instantly lifted up my soul in amazement.
I was reading verse 5 in my thick NASB Bible:
“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will…”
The kind intention of His will.
Do you ever forget that God is kind?
I do. In my determination to remember His holiness and His justice, His perfect mix of anger and love, I forget HE IS KIND.
And He has been gracious enough to direct this kind intention toward you and toward me.
Another version of Ephesians 1:5 (The Living Bible) says it this way:
“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!”
This one makes me smile.
He saved us because He wanted to. He wanted us, just because.
Just because it would show off His amazing love.
The New Living Translation (verses 4-6) says:
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”
This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
Does that excite you? I am amazed that He could find pleasure in me. I know that, on my own, I am nothing. But just think! Being Jesus’ purchased possession makes me pleasure to the Lord!
Next time you are down–whether you are feeling discouraged or whether pneumonia has you bedridden–remember Jesus.
Remember that He is a God of many beautiful, thunderous, earth-quaking qualities–and He is also full of kindness.
He chose us. He decided, long ago, that we would be the ones He loves for all time. What love is this? What glorious generosity!
“That is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”
And it brings Him pleasure still.
“God doesn’t owe us anything–yet in His grace, He still gives us good things.”
– Billy Graham –