When my oldest daughter was four years old, we made a trip to Disney World. This was her first time to go and she was so excited. We arrived at the condo and realized it had a pool with a water slide, so we decided to swim the first day then visit the Disney parks.
She loved the water slide, which she was barely tall enough to ride. I would catch her as she plunged in the pool at 3.4 MPH with her hands raised high and screaming to the top of her lungs. She was having a blast!
On one trip down the slide, she did something that really made me laugh. As she came up out of the water, I grabbed her and she said, “I love Disney World!”
I told my wife, “She thinks this is Disney World.” Suddenly a thought came to mind, “We don’t even have to go to Disney. We haven’t even bought tickets either.” It was a fleeting thought as my wife reminded me she would eventually catch on to my penny-pinching scheme.
We traveled all that way to see the Disney characters, enjoy the Magic Kingdom, and see everything the parks had to offer, not go down water slides. It would have been a cheap imitation that she would eventually figure out and be super disappointed.
I thought about that scenario when it comes to the Christian life. Sometimes we are experiencing good enough but not the best Christ has to offer. I’m not talking about accumulating money and stuff, which is a very carnal first thought. I’m referring to all the spiritual blessings found in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 says, “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.” What are these spiritual blessings?
Ephesians 1 continues and speaks of being chosen by God, being holy and blameless, love, adoption, sonship, praising Him, redemption, forgiveness of sins, wisdom, understanding, knowing and doing His good pleasure, doing His purpose, unity, grace, peace, hope, inclusion, salvation, guarantee of eternal life, filling by the Holy Spirit, inheritance in the Kingdom, and being God’s possession (Ephesians 1:2-14).
Those are the best gifts ever! They far outweigh the fleeting, fickle, imitations this world can offer. While this world’s blessings can be good for a short season, they are a mere one waterslide imitation compared to the vast dreamland complex found in Christ.
Not even the best of Disney can measure up to blessings found in Christ. Trust me, Disney is a fantasy, Christ is a reality. Disney, while fun, was overcrowded, overpriced, and under delivered. Jesus brings a joy-filled life that nothing can match.
Don’t settle for a cheap imitation. Simply attending church cannot compare to the joys found in being church. Adding religious activity to your life does not match being added to Christ. Going down the waterslide was fun at first for my daughter but eventually lost its appeal. We explored the Disney parks for four days and never experienced everything, so we went back two more times and still didn’t experience it all.
At 15, she’s over little waterslides, but the thought of going back to Disney World gets her excited. I’m over the newness of walking into the church building and going through the motions of a church service. But I’m mesmerized and in awe of what awaits in this life and the one to come in a growing relationship with Christ. That’s the reality of a blessed life in Christ.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Stephen Harrison is the lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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