The Good Gift & Chocolate Chip Cookies

I could hear them plotting as they crept down the stairs. I couldn’t help but smile at their poor attempts to muffle their whispers and giggles. But this was no new conspiracy for Mom. I knew what they were after even before their little toes found the kitchen floor. My little operatives were on the search for breakfast – the cookies we baked the day before.

Finally, my eldest poked his disheveled head around the corner. And through a crooked grin, he conceded, “Mom, we want a cookie!”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Because, as Mom, I knew something my little ones did not. The cookies had been tucked away in a kitchen cabinet, far out of reach from little hands.

But I also laughed because had my children asked me for a cookie, I would have willingly handed them over. No conspiracy, emotional manipulations, or tactical maneuverings were needed. Most of the time, Mom is the Cookie Nazi.  But other times, especially when the recipients are clad in footed pajamas, Mom delights in the instant smiles that come with rare breakfast treats.

Very often, God is like that too – taking holy pleasure in placing small blessings in his children’s hands.

Listen to Paul’s description of God’s love for us in Eph. 1:1-3:

“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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love hepredestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he floves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment —to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”

For those of us found in Christ, Scripture promises us that God delights in giving his children every “spiritual blessing.”

Blessing in this verse is the Greek word εὐλογία (eulogia) from the verb εὐλογέω. It conveys a sense of ‘speaking well’ of or ‘praise.’[1] But very often, eulogia refers to certain benefits bestowed by God. Here in Ephesians 1, Paul lists some of the benefits of our God-given spiritual blessings. They include:

  • election
  • redemption by Christ’s blood
  • adoption into the family of God
  • sanctification from the indwelling of sin
  • the free gift grace
  • forgiveness of sins
  • wisdom and knowledge of the will of God

These blessings are not the object of short term searches for material happiness or physical comfort. Nor are they guarantees of earthly health, wealth, and happiness.  But in the end, these spiritual gifts are much more valuable, because they have been purchased with a formidable price and will endure for all eternity.

I realize that the nature of those lavish blessings puts the joy of a chocolate chip cookie to shame. But I use that illustration to make a point. The power of God in Christ ensures you and I already have all we need for life (2 Peter 1:3). But just like my mischievous and mistaken twins, we often feel we must wrestle little blessings away from God as if we’re stealing cookies under the watchful eye of a miserly cook.

And very often, when we don’t receive the specific blessing we so ardently seek, we feel slighted by God. That’s where our actions and emotions reveal our heart’s true beliefs concerning God’s ability and willingness to bless us.

When we fall prey to the deception that we deserve to be rewarded with a blessing of our own choosing, we grossly misapply Christ’s work on our behalf.  Because at the heart of such a deception lies the tragic misperception that God, who truly is the Good Giver of all good gifts, is not truly good.

The good things of life are not cookies to be stolen from a cosmic cookie jar, as if they are opportunities to be seized, a prosperous destiny to be claimed, or a reward doled out for good behavior.  Good gifts we receive in life come from Christ – and this is the really important part – they are already ours to savor and enjoy.

Because of God’s love for us, realized in the person and work of Jesus Christ, his children already possess every blessing we will ever need. In Eph. 3:1, Paul says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us…” The Greek emphasizes that these unmerited blessings are already ours to enjoy.

Reflecting on these glorious truths this morning, I couldn’t help but share a little unmerited blessing with my two little conspirators. Although they certainly didn’t deserve chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, I took great joy in placing a cookie into each of their hot little hands.

Will I always give my kids the desires of their heart for breakfast? With their ultimate good in mind, the answer to that question is decidedly no! (Cookies for breakfast aren’t exactly the healthiest option.) But on this particular occasion, with the morning light bathing their hair in a strawberry glow, it was my delight to do so.

I am so thankful for a Good God who not only has the power to lavish his children with unmerited blessings, but takes delight in doing so. And while I certainly will fall short in mirroring the goodness of this Holy One, I can certainly point my children to the Good Gift that comes only from the One who is good enough to give it.

“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

 


[1] Brand, Charles, ed. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Nashville: Holman Reference, 2003) , 224.

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of HiveResources.com - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.