by Rayola Kelley
Q: I have been confused by the idea of blessings. I have always heard how God desires to bless His people with all the desires of their hearts. And yet, as a Christian I do not feel blessed, and I see many dissatisfied Christians around me. Could you help end my confusion about this subject?
A: The word “blessing” in the text of your question means prosperity, present, and that which benefits. There are two types of blessings: earthly blessings and spiritual blessings. As you study these two types of blessings, you will realize that Israel received earthly blessings in order to be established as a people and nation. The purpose for these blessings was to enable Israel to be the head and not the tail in the world with the intent of bringing forth the Promised One or the Messiah. These blessings were to serve as a visible testimony of Jehovah God. They were to be used in such a way that Israel stood distinct in the midst of darkness.
For Christians, they make up a spiritual kingdom that is not identified to this world’s prosperity, but to spiritual blessings (John 18:36). Ephesians 1:3 makes this statement:“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” When you study blessings in this text, you will realize they are associated with the Gospel, faith and communion (Romans 15:29; 1 Corinthians 10:16; Galatians 3:14).
In order to be a recipient of God’s blessings, you must choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Blessings of God are associated to the life He gives us. Outside of this life, there is uncertainty and ruin. For the children of Israel, they had to display faith by obeying the Law, but for the Christian, we must by faith choose Jesus as Lord and Savior to experience the life God has for us (John 5:21-29). The Word of God talks about inheriting these blessings, which is different than God pouring out His blessings on someone who would fail to recognize them as such(Hebrews 12:17; 1 Peter 3:8-12). Inheritance points to legacy or that which is passed down to people based on their family relationship. Therefore, blessings from God are available to all, but prove to be conditional when it comes to man’s spiritual state and relationship with God.
Once God has blessed you, it is vital you understand that they are not to heap upon yourself. For example, the Israelites were to share their blessings with the less fortunate among them. Failure to properly handle God’s blessings caused harsh judgment to fall on the Israelites. Eventually, they lost their status as a people and nation, and became the “tail” in the world. Likewise, Christians must bless (give to) the work of the true Gospel, as well as others in the Kingdom of God. In fact, all that has been given to us pertains to a holy (distinct) life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). Therefore, we must be open vessels in which blessings from God can freely flow through us to others, whether they may be earthly or spiritual. Such sharing is our way of blessing or honoring God.
The final aspect of blessing is found in the Apostle Paul’s attitude. He stated: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, which strengheneth me (Philippians 4:12-13). The attitude of Paul was based on what he valued the most. He valued his relationship with Jesus Christ as the ultimate goal and prize in his life. As a result, he did not consider his physical state. He learned contentment in every situation, knowing that in the end, he would gain Christ through it all.
In my own case, I have experienced dissatisfaction in my life whenever I look to the world to meet my needs or bring comfort, instead of valuing and trusting my relationship with God through Jesus. As a result, I become lost in the emptiness of this present world, anxious over the overwhelming circumstances that are facing me, and hopeless over the reality that nothing is lasting or makes sense unless it leads me heavenward to the right hand of Majesty. King David summarized it best: “Thou wilt show me the path of life. In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).