I just finished teaching on Ephesians 1. There is an amazing statement made there. Paul teaches us that the Lord Jesus Christ ‘has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’ When we read this, we may not fully understand the significance. What good is a ‘spiritual’ blessing here on Earth?
The spiritual blessings of favor, love, mercy, strength, wisdom, and power are the delivery system of every good and perfect thing we receive from the Lord in this life. Without these, there are no blessings. With them, all things are possible with God.
Notice that Paul writes this in past tense. These blessings have already been given. They have already been released. They are available to every man and woman right now in this very moment. They are available to you. It is not a matter of whether or not God has blessed us, it is a matter of us taking hold of these blessings as our own. This is what the story of Zachaeus is all about.
The Story of Zachaeus
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore- fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner. ‘”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
All spiritual blessings have been released to us because the Lord has given Himself. The blessings are not what the Lord does for us as much as the blessings are a personification of Him. God loves the Scripture says, but it also says that God is love. He is favor. He is peace. He is mercy. He is love. He is… This is why when Moses asked the Lord who he should tell the Israelites has sent him, The Lord said, “Tell them I Am has sent you.” In other words, everything good, I am.
When we truly understand the nature of blessings are not what the Lord gives as much as they are what He is, then to take hold of them requires remaining in the presence of the Lord. When I am in His presence, every spiritual blessing is available to me. When I am outside of His presence, then I forfeit these blessings. Just reading this, I am sure that some people are going to think to themselves that God is everywhere so how can we get outside of His presence. Let me explain.
I have taken my wife out on dates before (McDonald’s, of course J) and we have really enjoyed each other’s company. We talk. We laugh. We put our arms around one another. We kiss. We bond. At the same time, we have looked over at just the next table where we would see a couple that did none of these things. They did not interact. They did not hold hands. There was no laughter. Nothing. They were near one another sitting on opposite sides of the table, but they were not with one another. They were not bonding. To be in the presence of the Lord, we must be with Him. We must bond with Him. We must express our love and receive His.
Many times, this is going to be associated with worship through music and song and it is. But we must not forget that Jesus said to the woman at the well that the Lord is looking for those who worship in spirit and truth. Our spirit goes out to the Lord as we praise Him, but truth reflects the attitude behind the words. We cannot come to church and sing praises to Him while we are seeking after the things of the world in every other area of our life. When we do this, we are not being truthful. Unless our lifestyle back up the words of praise that come out of our mouth, we are not bonding with the Lord because there is no truth to our praise.
Zachaeus was seeking after the Lord with all of his heart. He just wanted to get a glimpse of this man. He did not allow anything to deter him. He lifted himself up on a tree and put forth great effort simply to see the Lord walk by. He had no expectation of Christ stopping. He certainly had no expectation of the Lord inviting Himself to Zachaeus’ home for dinner. He only wanted to see Him. He sought after the Lord to such a degree as to let nothing stop him, not even the tall crowd before him.
We see the Lord’s response to such sincere desire to connect with Him as much as was possible. Jesus said, “I MUST stay at your house today.” Let’s not dismiss this word too quickly. The Lord was a master of the language and no word is wasted or without purpose. He said that He MUST. He had no choice. It was not an option. Why? Why did the Lord Jesus have to stay with Zachaeus today just because he climbed up a tree to see Him?
The reason is that the Lord cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) By nature, He is a father. He is a loving father that has nothing in Him but love. When His child seeks to be with Him, His own character will not allow Him to walk by. He MUST stay. When we seek the Lord with all our heart, in spirit and truth, the Lord cannot walk by. He stays with us and all that He is remains in us. If we see His actions or His blessings, He is not compelled to stay because we have loved His blessings more than He. But when do whatever it takes in our life to connect with Him as much as possible, letting nothing deter us from Him, He will stay.
What are you allowing to deter you from Him? Sin? Complacency? Pride? Get rid of these things. Do not let anything remain between you and the Lord even if you have to climb a tree. This sincere desire to be with the Lord compels Him. By His own character, He will not let Himself pass you by. He MUST stay. Praise the Lord who loves like this!