Read Time 14 Minutes
Blessings . . . Especially this time of year, I find myself thinking about the amazing people I know and love. For quite some time now I’ve been astute enough to realize that I, like many Americans, am incredibly blessed and I am absolutely thankful to the one from whom all blessings flow – Father God, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
Once I began the journey of stepping back from my life in an attempt to see Blessing objectively, I found that I had recognized the obvious – faith in Christ, family, friends, health, job and home and I am incredibly grateful for them and for you.
Yet I began to realize there was more that I was to see and understand. Sometimes you just sense a nudge from the Holy Spirit that says, “There’s more, look deeper.” So, I began to search the Scriptures to see what Blessings really are. I found ribbons of truth throughout to show us their purpose and effect.
I have always thought of a Blessing as a benefit given by God to His children for a job well done or to fill a need. That is true as far as it goes, but woefully short of the true nature and purpose of Blessing as God meant it to be understood. Once you begin to probe, think and pray you begin to see so much more.
God gave 3 blessings during the creation – one to the living creatures of the sea and air, a second to man and a third to the Sabbath Day itself.
Day Three – Creatures of the sea and air were Blessed to “be fruitful and multiply”. The Blessing was given for a purpose – to equip them for a job they were assigned to do.
Day Six – Living Creatures were created. Man was created “in His Image” . . . “to rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the livestock, and over all the earth and over all the creeping creatures that creep on the earth.” This Blessing was a Blessing of Dominion and Authority to Rule over the creation.
Day Seven – God Blessed the Seventh Day – Made it Holy (set apart) and a day of rest to honor the work He had done, to Honor Him and His work of Creation.
Blessings were given to Living Creatures, to Mankind and to a Day. Clearly these weren’t gold stars being handed out for good work since they had done nothing. Blessing is an equipping for people and creatures. It is also an honor given to mark an event as a remembrance.
With this altered viewpoint, you recognize the real purpose of Blessings – to Be a Blessing – to accomplish a God-Given purpose – to be His Image and to recognize, mark and honor what He has already done in creation.
Go back to Day Six and see that mankind was created “in our Image”. What does that mean? An image is a representation or a likeness. So, we are made to be a representation or likeness of our Creator God here on this earth. We are “like” Him, but we are not Him. As we grow in the knowledge and likeness of Him we are more able to Image Him or to be His representative.
What was Jesus doing in His final act on this earth?
“He led the disciples out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. And while He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”
He never ended the blessing . . . He is our High Priest . . . He is Blessing Us Still. His Blessing has no limitation, no expiration, no ceasing. It is an unending Blessing! What greater legacy can there be?
He Blessed Us so that we can be a Blessing! Our own culture has diminished that to mean “If I make money, I give money to the church or to a worthy cause and that’s how I am a Blessing”. As far as it goes, that’s okay, but it is only a pale imitation of how we see a Blessing in Scripture.
In the first century the cultural Blessing was of utmost importance. The Blessing of the First Born conveyed property and spiritual authority. The first born son received twice the amount of property as the other sons and the first born received the authority to rule over (guide, guard and protect) the family. So, with the Blessing (inheritance) came Responsibility. Additional property made extra wealth available to care for the needs of other members of the family when it was required. Remember . . . you can’t have privilege without responsibility!
The Blessing of the First Born was so important that Ishmael, born of an Egyptian slave, Hagar, and fathered by Abraham, was not allowed to receive the blessing. That Blessing was bestowed upon Isaac, Sarah’s son. God had a specific purpose for Isaac, and despite the cultural norm of the First Born receiving the Blessing, God elected Isaac. The fallout from that decision still rages today in the Middle East. It is more clearly defined as Judaism and ultimately Christianity versus Islam. Blessings mattered then and they still matter today!
In the 18th and 19th centuries, a Blessing was given by the church and a Father and Mother to children upon their marriage. The young couple sought the blessing of the Body of Christ we think of as “the church” and their parents on the proposed union. Once that Blessing was given it was a “joining” of the family and spiritual community in willingness to come alongside the couple to be available to advise, assist – someone to lean on who has been there and been successful at it, even in their failures. They’ve learned and they blessed the couple with that knowledge and experience.
In the 20th and 21st centuries those cultural constructs have been pushed aside. The tradition is no longer honored and we see unions without Blessing, without support and the aftermath it creates is horrific. We’ve replaced it with moral relativism – “I will do whatever I want, however I want with whomever I want and it’s none of your business”. The focus on ‘Just Me’ has become our god. We’ve become our own idol. We’ve culturally cast aside on the dust heap of convenience and entitlement those things which gave us security and support within a family and spiritual structure.
Be careful of your wishes, they could become reality. You are on your own and your only support system is a blind and faithless government which may give you a fish, but it will never teach you to fish or to become independent. Your dependency conveys your strength and power to the entity upon which you depend.
Our society has arrived at this point, but we don’t have to join the Church of Me, the Gospel of God Owes Me or the Religion of Self-Will. As a nation and people, we have sacrificed our Blessings on the altars of I Will, If it Feels Good Do it and Social Justice.
However, we do not, as individuals, have to agree with society’s choice or their behavior. In fact, we must be willing to SAY NO! We are the image of God and we must choose to reflect His values, His choices by doing what He instructed, by living as He lived. By a willingness to stand up in our land and say, that is not acceptable to me – that is against the teaching of God which I hold true. No – I will not be a part of this. We must require it of our leaders.
How do we begin to turn our life and culture back in the right direction? We begin by Being a Blessing. We learn to heal and not to injure with our own voices. We speak Blessings – not curses.
The Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue. How is that possible? Take a step back and think it through – God created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is within it by SPEAKING it into being. We are created in His Image. We can’t create people, animals or the cosmos but we can certainly wreak havoc in the life of another by our clever, cutting and hateful remarks. Scripturally, those are curses – the antitheses of Blessings.
How many darts are stuck in our own hearts and minds and those of our children from careless, hateful words thrown our way as a child, a teen or an adult? We have felt it and we have done it to others.
If you wore glasses, you were 4 eyes.
If you were afraid of something you were a chicken.
If you were a bit overweight, you were a pig.
If you were too skinny, you were a string bean.
If you raised your hand and offered to answer a question or help in class you were a suck-up and teacher’s pet.
If you offered to do extra work at the office you were seeking brownie points.
If you slipped and fell, you were clumsy.
If you burned dinner, you were a horrible cook.
If you wrecked the car, you were a bad driver.
The list is never ending. Those words spoken were curses. They damaged self-esteem and caused unnecessary harm. Many were simply not true and said maliciously to hurt, others were said out of sheer stupidity – but they caused harm nonetheless.
Now think back again. How many times have you said or done things which hurt others? Whether it was intentional, thoughtless or just to be clever or noticed by the group — it was wrong and you spoke evil into another person’s life.
We are beings of Free Will. We can choose to Image God and be a Blessing or Image our Sin Nature and be a Curse. We always have a choice. The question is WHEN WE MAKE OUR CHOICE. If our choice directly affects only us and we are individually the only person to gain or lose from that choice – it’s ours to make. Any time our choice tramples someone else’s free will, coerces them or binds them to a decision in which they had no choice – you’ve transgressed another’s Free Will.
The choice was given to us in Scripture, God said:
“I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.” You choose. We are no longer under the law, but we have His written instructions – we can choose to come into agreement with God and Bless or come into agreement with Satan and curse.
This is still the choice for each of us today. I choose Blessing and I choose to Be A Blessing, not just receive Blessings. If we have skills, abundance of finance, clothing, food, human kindness or wisdom we become a blessing when we share. We can choose to empower, to enable to achieve, to assist by creating an environment where others learn, grow and achieve. God does not enable in order to control and we must be His Image and do the same.
What about the Blessings in our own life that aren’t so obvious? How can we learn to recognize and be grateful for and utilize those? Here’s a start –
Every problem, crisis, adversity, setback and sorrow will be turned to blessing triumph and breakthrough when you have chosen to walk with God to the best of your current ability. These are blessings in disguise waiting to be realized. How do I know that? Hindsight! Many of the things I believed to be a horrible disaster and unfair to the max proved to be the things which taught me the most. More importantly, God said so –
We typically focus only on the first potion of this verse, but to do so misses the point, the purpose. He does not say all things work together for good. They do not. He says, All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. I know I love God and I know He called me for His purpose. I know HE CANNOT LIE. Therefore, all things work together for good. Be careful to never lift a verse out of context or to take only the portion of a verse you LIKE.
How I react in each situation will determine when and how much blessing I will derive from it. The first question I’m learning to ask is, “What can I learn from this situation, trouble or problem that I could not have realized without it?” God has allowed it for a reason, therefore, my first response must be to attempt to discern what He wants me to learn, do, see or experience – the things I could not grasp or have not grasped without it. God teaches us by His Word and by our experience. We can choose our preferred method. For me, I choose His Word as my mode of learning since Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted. Experience is a brutal instructor.
Remember, we are created in His Image as a representation and likeness of Him. As we grow in the knowledge of Him we should be a better, clearer more exact likeness of Him. The mirror of Him, our life, should become more clearly like Him. The people around us may not yet be able to identify exactly what it is, but they should be able to see something distinctly different about us, unlike the world and its distortions.
Imaging of God is a process, not an event and how we become more like Him is to learn from this training session called life to respond and react as Jesus did when He was here on earth. We are ALREADY . . . BUT NOT YET . . . LIKE HIM. It will happen – you made that choice when you became His.
How do we make it happen sooner?
Recognize the difficulty as a blessing, an opportunity to grow and progress
Respond as we are directed in His Word, In Love
Take control of that Tongue!
Once we learn to do these things, our time in the midst of the trouble will be lessened. Difficulties are our classroom and once we learn the lesson we can then be a blessing to others, pass the course and move on to another learning experience. If you continue to have the same problem, you didn’t pass the test and you’re repeating the course. Look back, review and change your response. Don’t continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We build our experiences, layer upon layer to become a better Image of God.
We often struggle with the questions, “Why am I here? What could God use me for? Can I make a contribution to the lives of others?” Oftentimes your past difficulties will define your new opportunities – the areas in which you could be the greatest Blessing to others. What you have overcome empowers you to assist others who experience the same struggles. You know what to do, YOU SURVIVED – pass it along and be a Blessing.
Parents who’ve lived through the loss of a child are a Blessing to those who are in that dark valley.
A woman who has survived rape can minister to a rape victim like no other could possibly do.
A Father who is raising his children alone can help another Father who is experiencing this same walk.
The grown child who suffered verbal and/or physical abuse as a child can speak to the broken heart of a child experiencing that pain when no one else can help.
For those who recognize the ashes of their experience contain Blessings, their difficulties can become opportunities and they, themselves, a blessing to others. The mountain which was my problem, has now become my channel of blessings to fulfill my purpose by lifting someone else up.
So many references and examples in Scripture are agricultural. The culture of Bible Times was directly connected to the land and the people could easily grasp the point being made through these references. Think in that cultural time and you’ll get the references and understand the lessons much more easily. The people of God are referred to as Trees, Jesus is a root and branch and branches are broken and grafted back in. Many things happened in a garden so we ought to take a closer look.
Eden was the perfect place where Adam and Eve made the dreadful decision to disobey God and they were banned from that perfect place.
Jesus sweat great drops of blood and was seized in a garden as He prayed, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. But, not my will, but Thine be Done”.
Jesus was laid in a garden Tomb after the crucifixion and was resurrected there.
It seems fitting then, that we are pictured as a tree in this garden of life which produces fruit. What fruit are we producing in our life? What fruit is growing on our branches? How do we know what good fruit looks like versus bad. It’s really easy – look in His Word.
Scripture defines the Works (fruits) of the flesh as well as the fruit of the Spirit.
“And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are adultery, whoring, uncleanness, indecency, idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties and the like . . . “
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, self-control.”
When we are shaken, and we will be, will the fruit that falls to the ground or on someone’s head be the good fruit of the Spirit or the fruit of the flesh? What will come out of our mouth – Blessings or Curses? Out of the abundance of our heart, the mouth speaks. What exists in our hearts? Will we project the Image of God (the fruits of the spirit) or fallen mankind (the works of the flesh)?
It simply means do what He said – Jesus left us with 2 Commandments –
“’You shall love God with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind’. This is the first and great command. And the second is like it. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
So then – What is Love from God’s viewpoint?
Love – pure, absolute divine love is uncaused and unmerited. It exists as God exists, of its own without Cause. God was not created, He has always existed and the love of God has always existed with Him.
God needs no reason to love you. He loves you because He is and because He has chosen to Love You. You can’t Cause God to love you anymore than you can Cause (create) God Himself. Divine Love is without cause, simply because God has made the choice to Love You with . . . no reason or cause.
What does that mean? Since you cannot cause God to love you, neither can you cause God to stop loving you. What a relief – my sins, my failures, my shortcomings and my mistakes cannot separate me from the love of God. I can choose to leave God and His Love (just because I was saved I did not relinquish my free will), but I can never sin enough, mess up enough or make enough mistakes to cause God to stop loving me.
Divine Love is the Greatest Blessing of All!
My Prayer for the Upcoming Year – Abba Father, I confess to you my failures, my shortcomings and my sin. I ask for your forgiveness and a forgiving heart for the year ahead. Lord Jesus, help me to live in constant awareness of the blessings you’ve bestowed on me and the opportunities for blessing others I am being given. Holy Spirit teach me by your Word and not by my circumstances, but when circumstances are necessary help me to be a quick study and a fast learner. Father you’ve created me to produce the fruit of the spirit, but when I allow the fruit of the flesh to fall when I’m shaken – I ask you to forgive me, make me mindful and prevent me from speaking curses to and about others. Make my tongue more quick and sure to Bless and to forgive, not to curse. I choose to Image you and not my fallen flesh, but without your Spirit and the Blood of Jesus it is not possible. Help me to decrease, Jesus, so that You can increase in my life. Let your image be made clearer in me every day.
I speak Blessings of Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment, Health, Abundance and the Love of Christ to each and every person I know and come into contact with today and every day. Father God, Bless them Indeed!
In Jesus’ Mighty Name and By His Precious Blood I pray – Amen.
Commit with me today to be purposeful as you seek and bestow the Blessings of Almighty God upon those you love, those you meet in passing and especially those whom you see as your enemies.
So . . . Love someone today . . . Encourage someone today . . . Inspire someone today . . . Praise someone today . . . Protect someone today . . . Befriend someone today . . . Share with someone today . . . Comfort someone today and every day and . . . you will Become The Blessing you were destined to be!
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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