Hetty Green was known for her miserly ways. In fact, she was called America’s greatest miser. But Hetty Green was worth a lot of money. When she died in 1916, she left behind an estate that with an estimated worth of $100 to $200 million. That is a lot of money today, not to mention back then.
What is amazing about this multimillionaire is that she lived as though she were poverty-stricken. She would eat cold oatmeal every day to save the expense of heating the water. When her young son broke his leg, she reportedly took him first to a free clinic for the poor.
She apparently even hastened her own death by not taking care of herself. She lived like a pauper when, in reality, she was worth millions.
God’s heavenly bank account has no such limitations or restrictions. No one has to be spiritually deprived or undernourished or impoverished. God’s heavenly resources are more than adequate.
I believe there are some Christians today who might not realize how much is actually in their spiritual bank accounts. Such believers are experiencing spiritual malnutrition because they have not taken advantage of the great storehouse of spiritual nourishment and resources at their disposal.
The apostle Paul wrote an incredible letter to the believers in Ephesus, showing all that God has done for them (and us) and how, as a result, Christians can live full, productive and effective lives. It tells us what we possess spiritually and how we can claim and enjoy those possessions. We don’t have to find insufficient funds when we go to our spiritual ATM machine. Ephesians has been called The Believer’s Bank, The Christian’s Checkbook and The Treasure House of the Bible.
The basic message Paul was seeking to convey was that in Christ, we have everything we need. We are never lacking in spiritual resources.
But before we can effectively walk with God, we need to learn about the resources that he has given to us. Paul wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 NIV).
Paul is saying, “I want you to know what is waiting for you in the heavenly realms.” When he speaks of the heavenly realms, he is not talking about something that is merely waiting for us in heaven. He is talking about the supernatural realm.
A Christian is someone who lives in two dimensions. There is the spiritual dimension, yet we live on the earth. Paul was saying that we need to transfer what we have in the spiritual realm into the earthly realm.
The story is told of William Randolph Hearst, who had an incredible collection of fine art, some of which was kept in a warehouse. One day, as he was going through a periodical that listed various pieces of art, he came across a beautiful painting. He told his buyer that he wanted him to find the painting. He didn’t care how much it cost or how far the buyer had to go. He wanted that painting.
The buyer searched and searched, and when he finally tracked it down, he discovered the painting already belonged to Hearst. He had so many paintings that he didn’t even know what he owned.
A lot of Christians are like that. We don’t know all that God has given to us. We don’t know the resources that he has placed into our spiritual accounts.
For example, when I travel to a foreign country, I still maintain my citizenship as an American. But there are things I still need to adapt to. One thing that I always miss is American food. I don’t like to eat things that I am not sure of, so when I am overseas, McDonald’s is my best friend. I know what to expect, because there is a certain standard that McDonald’s operates by.
Another thing about being in a foreign country is adjusting to their currency. When I go to an ATM and take money from my bank in the U.S., it is converted into the local currency. So I need to become familiar with the exchange rate so that I know what I am doing.
God has treasures waiting for us in heaven that he wants us to start utilizing here – spiritual resources that are available to the Christian who is walking with God.
All that God has done for the follower of Christ has come because of his grace, or unmerited favor. Paul said that God has made the believer “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6 NKJV), which is not merely forgiven, not merely justified, not merely cleansed of sin, but received in love by God himself. This is because of his deep love for his own son. Because his son lives in the believer, he or she has found God’s favor.
So it is time to stop living like spiritual paupers and start cashing in – start laying hold of those resources. I have God’s approval. I am accepted in the beloved. I am adopted by God. I am loved by God. I am chosen by God. I am called by God. I don’t have to doubt my salvation every other day, feeling beaten and defeated and unworthy. I am not worthy. I never was worthy. I am never going to be worthy. It is not about worth. It is about Jesus and what he has done.
We don’t have to do X, Y and Z to gain the approval of God. Rather, what we need to do is understand what God has done for us in giving us his approval – and then letting it impact the way we live.