We have focused a lot on the practice of gratitude these past few weeks. We commonly use the word “blessings” as something we are grateful for. I even named my blog with the word “blessed” in it! But are we using this word correctly? What comes to mind when you hear the word blessing? A favor granted by God? Your family or friends? Some material objects? All the above? What are blessings from God?
My first thought was the concept of the Old Testament “blessings”. I wrote a blog about Jacob and Esau’s experience a few weeks ago when they tussled over receiving their father Isaac’s blessing. The family blessing was an “oral will” that gives unchangeable birthright status and guaranteed a double portion of their inheritance.
Tuck the word “inheritance” in the back of your mind…
What are Blessings from God?
Paul describes blessings in the New Testament:
God gives us EVERY spiritual blessing that He has and does not hold back or leave out any blessings to us! What are these spiritual blessings? God pours out the following spiritual blessings when we follow Jesus:
•The indwelling of the Holy Spirit which gives us insight and power to do God’s will.
•Our eternal life with Jesus
•These blessings last forever, and they begin immediately with our faith in Jesus.
•His blessings are anything that brings us closer to Jesus.
God’s blessings are more God!
Different Types of Blessings from God
The presence of the Holy Spirit (another blessing!) in our lives shows that our faith is real. His power transforms us.
The Holy Spirit “is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.” Ephesians 1:14 NLT (Paul was speaking to the Gentiles here)
God blesses us with an inheritance. Not a material inheritance as in the Old Testament story we talked about earlier, but a spiritual inheritance of enormous wealth! God planned an inheritance to the Jews by birthright, just as Isaac planned for his firstborn son.
I love the imagery of God grafting us into the spiritual richness of His inheritance.
So, what about material prosperity, successes, loving families, great friends, and good health? Are those blessings from God?
God blesses us with gifts here on earth that we can be thankful for but following Jesus does not guarantee us earthly blessings. He doesn’t bless us because we have a close relationship with him. We can’t buy God’s blessings or earn them through good works, our own determination or obeying His commandments. Do we even deserve blessings??
God blesses us because he is God, we are not, and He chooses blessings. I know the attributes of God, and He does not give, take away, allow or withhold his blessings with wrong motives. He is the perfecter and creator of all things. I know for certain that I can trust His sovereign judgment. It makes me even more grateful for the blessings he does bestow on my life.
Jesus never said that material wealth or earthly blessings were bad. ( The love of these things which then interfere with our faith is, however…)
Instead, he wants us to think about how we use the material blessings he gives.
Bible Verses about Sharing Your Blessings
He clarifies that if we give our material possessions a higher priority in our lives over Him, then we need to check our hearts.
We can’t take our material things into heaven with us, so we can and should use them to benefit and bless others in a way that honors God.
Acts 20:35 NLT tells us it is more blessed to give than receive, and Jesus confirms it with these words:
Don’t you love how he encourages us here? ♥ He gives us this beautiful visual and a specific approach to take when we receive His blessings. He blesses us again when we pass our blessings on to others!
How does this change your thinking on the blessings you receive?
What Does Blessed Mean in the Beatitudes?
Jesus speaks of blessings in trials in the Beatitudes. (Matthew 5: 3-11 NLT) God blesses “those who mourn…who are persecuted for doing right… when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you…”
“Blessed” in these situations doesn’t mean “happy” but knowing the ultimate joy we can have now (no matter what is happening in our lives) by trusting in God’s promises.
Our sufferings and trials are not blessings, but because we can walk with Jesus through those things, He can and will pour out His blessings on us there. He blesses us with his wisdom, his presence, his grace and strength, and compassion.
Sometimes (and probably more often than we would like), we draw closer to Jesus and rest in Him alone when we go through struggles and trials. They can push our limits and can leave us with no other option than to pick up our struggle and lay it at His feet in total submission.
Our greatest blessings can be to rest in Him and depend on His strength.
Pin me for later!
God’s Ultimate Blessing
God’s original plan was to bless us with a life of peace and fulfillment with Him. Sin ruined that plan in the beginning, but he gives us the ultimate blessing of restoration, forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus.
Jesus pours out all his attributes onto us: his love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. What blessings!
In the meantime, through the Holy Spirit, we try to live as ambassadors for Christ. We may experience trials along the way. But God’s blessings, His divine favor, are always there to bring abundance to our lives.
When I wrote my very first blog post, I asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could integrate God’s character into our own lives a bit better, and then pass that on (bless others) in our everyday interactions?”
I pray that we all have a new understanding of God’s blessings, and we use them to bless others in our everyday lives!
Did you discover anything new about God’s blessings today?
What do you consider God’s greatest blessing to you?
In what way can you bless others this week?
Blessings! (This statement is taking on a whole new meaning to me!)