No doubt, I bet that title alone will pique the curiosity of the average Christian. That is what we want to know, right? How do I get my blessings so I can live my life like a victorious Christian. In fact, I think in general, we are so hungry to gain earn God’s favor, to feel like we’re doing the right thing and rise above our circumstances that might hinder what God has for us. And we can become so motivated by this pursuit that we reject anything or anyone that contradicts it.
This is an observation I’ve made that comes with this type of pursuit. So I know I’m not speaking to all Christians. But if your interest is how to be blessed to live your Christian life, then you have overlooked some vital issues related to the Christian faith. Now I bet just saying that has turned you off. But before you check out, please hear me out.
Christians are already blessed by the Lord because of their relationship to Christ. Also, Christians do not have to earn favor. Favor is nothing but the undeserved merit called grace which the Father has poured out through Christ. The reason I know that is because scripture tells me so. Now you may find Bible reading only profitable for what you can gain out of it so you can be successful. You may even read it through your own lens and gloss over the parts you find boring that don’t satisfy your quest to be blessed.
But in doing so you are overlooking exactly what the Bible is, God’s breathed out word that ultimately and sufficiently speaks of the Son and those who are united to Him through faith (2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is not a faith that compels us to live in pursuit of blessings but to see how God has already acted and spoken (2 Peter 1:16-21). That is why it is vital to see the Old Testament as what would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ based on the promises of God, the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:10-14). That is why it’s important to see the gospels and Acts as showing how that fulfillment takes places. It is important to see the epistles as the testimony to that ultimate fulfillment. And finally, look at how everything will be wrapped up in the end through the book of Revelation.
So if you are only interested in Bible reading for formulas for your own gain, you are missing out on the riches the Bible has to offer. But more importantly, you are missing out about learning about God on his terms, to learn about Him what he did and accomplished in His Son. This is what the Bible is about, it is God’s story in which He is the actor and speaker through all the events and words that take place throughout the 66 books. If all you care about is getting your blessings,you’ve failed to understand that Christianity is about the will of the Father, poured out through his Son and lived by the Spirit so that Christ is exalted. And when I say Spirit, I don’t mean how to listen for a voice that tells you how to be blessed or feel good about your Christianity. I mean the Holy Spirit who communicates the will of the Father, which was accomplished in the Son. If you don’t believe me then read Ephesians 1:3-14 and notice what the Father has done in which we are mere recipients by faith.
It is also significant to note that the material blessings in the Old Testament were related to God’s selection of Israel as a light among the nations so they would know they gods they served were vain idols. The blessings and promises were related to God’s covanent promises and what He would fulfill in His Son. The Old Testament blessings do not give us a prescription of how to be blessed but were for the purpose of pointing towards the Son, who would come in flesh as Israel’s deliver and reconcile Gentiles as equal heirs of the promise (Galatians 3:6-29; Ephesians 2:11-22). That does not mean that God does not grant material blessings today but that was not the purpose of the material blessings in the Old Testament.
You may pursue blessings because the preacher says so. The preacher may say things that sound good regarding getting your blessings. He or she may deliver it an a compelling manner. But please know just because they are using the Bible does not mean they are preaching the Word. For the Word is essentially related to Christ, what he accomplished and what that means for how the body of Christ reflects this faith. The Church lives this out together through love and communion of its members, even through hardships, sufferings and loss. But the focus is on Christ. See the apostle Paul said “we proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ (Colossians 1:28). And notice that he said this after he describes the mystery that was previously unknown, which was accomplished in Christ. This is not a mystery about your life and your blessings but about what God did through His Son.
If someone who has studied scripture well, points out inconsistencies in your beliefs and focus of getting blessed with what scripture says, don’t ignore them. There might be something vital you’ve missed that has gotten lost in your pursuit of blessings and feeling good about your Christianity. You might think they are arrogant for pointing these things out. But not listening is more arrogant because it demonstrates that you are committed to your pursuits more than Christ.
If you’re still with me on this, I’d love to hear from you. I know this might sound like an admonishment but in a way it is. Because there is so much misguided teaching that sounds good and feels good, but is not consistent with the Christianity of scripture. So I write this because I care, about what God has revealed through His Word, through His Son and for his ultimate plan. And people get hurt with inconsistent teaching and many have gotten hurt. Let’s chat about Christianity and what it is about, apart from the feelings and desires to pursue blessings.
“For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this was the word that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23-24).