I can talk fast. Really fast.
My rapid firing of words is not because I hate periods or commas. Its just that I get excited and forget to add pauses, breaks, spaces…
You know, breathe.
But it only happens when I get over-the-top excited about something. Maybe it is a specific passage I’m preaching on (i.e., Acts), the latest Star Wars Rebels episode (yes, the kid show on Disney), or some crazy fact about sound. Such as if sound goes above a certain decibel it will destroy anything in its path.
That is why I connect with Paul in Ephesians. When he starts his letter, he barely gets past the introduction before exploding into praise. By the time Paul hits verse 3, he is on full “praise-God-forget-periods” mode.
Which explains why verse 3 to verse 14 is one sentence (in the original language).
One. Long. Sentence.
If Paul was in an English writing class, he would have flunked. But the Holy Spirit has a purpose for this inspired passage. God wants us to see – and experience firsthand – the joy of Paul.
So what is up with all the celebration? Why is Paul so excited?
Here is a clue: the word “in” is used in relation to Christ 35 times in Ephesians.
That is the heart of Ephesians. The Holy Spirit’s purpose was that this letter would be a presentation – and celebration – of what God is doing for us in Christ. This truth was the source of Paul’s celebration.
But wait a minute…
You mean Paul was that excited about being “in Christ”?
Let’s be honest with each other for a second.
Having that level of excitement for being a Christian – a member of Christ’s body – sounds like a foreign concept. Of course, we’re in Christ. And that’s…well, okay. But not “I-can’t-stop-talking” level of excitement. In fact, we struggle even mentioning our faith to those around us.
Why is Paul such the opposite? What does he see or know that we seem to be missing?
To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at verse 3:
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… – Ephesians 1:3
In other words, praise God! Praise God with gratitude and thanksgiving because He is blessing us with every conceivable gift. From verse 4 to verse 14, Paul expounds on 6 spiritual gifts:
- We are a part of the chosen
- We have been adopted
- We are redeemed
- We have been enlightened
- We are God’s inheritance
- We have been sealed
How could we not get excited about being in Christ?
The sad truth is that we don’t. Spiritual gifts sound like “invisible gifts”. And we have a hard time getting excited about something we can’t see.
Are you “in” or “IN”?
The result? We live our everyday lives with no joy. No celebration. No praise. We may be “in” Christ, but that truth has zero impact on our life.
But are you “IN” Christ?
Do we go deep into the wilderness of God’s Word, experiencing the glory and majesty of the Creator? Do we remind ourselves of the blessings found in Christ? Is our relationship with God deepening and affecting our everyday reality?
This year, don’t stay on the surface. Don’t keep to the boundaries. Don’t neglect or skim the Word. Dig deep. Journey further in. And then celebrate all that God has done for you, letting the joy overflow into everything and to everyone.
Of course, periods are optional.