If money makes the world go round then it’s love that stops you getting motion sickness. A person can despair when they have no money or tones of money but it’s hard to give up on life when you love and are loved. The Christians in the church at Smyrna were poor but Jesus wrote to them and told them they are rich. Ephesians 1 tells us that not only are our sins forgiven but that we are adopted by God Eph 1v5.
Now that is something to be prized above all else. Our guilt is removed so that we might be son’s and daughters of God, enjoying his wonderful love. Do you know the Father? He is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness and forgiveness. Christians are not orphans, no matter how badly they are mistreated or rejected. They are loved and accepted and encouraged and strengthened by their perfect heavenly Father who will never let them go. Paul prays “That you may know him better” Ephesians 1:17. That is a key prayer. I can chase after popularity, fame, fortune, or I can get to know God the Father better. It should be a no brainer.
How does that work out in practice? Well, if I feel I fall far below others expectation of me or that I am not good enough then I can draw down on my riches in Christ. “I am accepted in Christ because of his accomplishments for me“. That’s makes a difference not only in my mind but in my whole self. The revelation and appropriating God as Father is really an intellectual deal, it’s a spiritual deal and we have supernatural help in this respect.
Paul goes on “Having believed you where marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Eph1v13. By the Holy Spirit we know we are his. Elsewhere Paul expands further:
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 (NIV)
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit comes and brings an internal application of all the riches of Christ to us. We have, and can enjoy the very presence of God, assurance of his love and fellowship with him. We could list other things : The freedom to live right, peace, joy, wisdom, purpose, meaning, a hope and a future. Jesus saved me from God’s righteous anger at my sin, Jesus saved me from Satan and his slavish plans for my life, and he saved me from myself, living for me rather than Jesus.
If you are a Christian then there is a lot in this list to value and prize. If not then something is not quite as it should be. The Christian lives not only with a hope for the fullness of these things in the future but an enjoyment of them right now. It’s like going to a fancy restaurant where you get to sample the wine first. If you drink it and it tastes horrible then you are not going to ask for the rest to be brought are you. Christain now are people who have tasted the good ness of God and say “Yes, bring the bottle”.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10:29-30 (ESV)
In Romanian under communism being a Christian did not give you an easy life. When the secret police searched Josef Tson’s house they confiscated every book he had and before bagging each one made him look at it, and sign it “found at my house, Josef Tson“. One of the last books he picked up was titled “Joy unspeakable and full of glory” with the strap line “Is it yours now?” He said “Lord if it is not mine now it will never be. Give it to me now”. From that moment on he was changed and throughout his gruelling interrogations he was strengthened by joy as he drew down on the riches he had in Christ.