Friday, April 8, 2011

The Purpose of God's Blessings

Everything good that we receive in this lifetime is from God. The bible says so in James 1:17...

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Many of us can identify various things in life as a "blessing" from God. We usually see good health, prosperity, relationships, professional achievement, and the like as blessings poured out into an individual's life. 

A big house; a nice car; a fat bank account; a stable job; a healthy body; families and friends, these are among the many things we thank God for in this lifetime. These truly are good things and these we can definitely call "blessings". It will not be a stretch for us to consider the above-mentioned categories as "blessings" because the bible speaks of this kind of abundance in this earthly life in Proverbs 10:

 "The blessing of the LORD it maketh rich and he addeth no sorrow with it." (Proverbs 10:22)

There is a blessing of the Lord, our God, that will give abundance of earthly life pleasures to an individual. We can say so because the he above verse's use of the words "to become rich" actually indicates abundance of- or accumulation according to its original Hebrew text, עָשַׁר, ashar.   

Oftentimes, we define these abundance or "blessings" as an "approval" of God to one's life. We usually incline ourselves into believing that if we would be good enough in this life, God will be pleased with it and will bless us with abundance in either finances, properties, health or relationships.

It is good to think about these many blessings that God would shower to us, but it is also important for us to understand the purpose of them. Before we would go to delving into the purpose behind our blessings in life, let's try to put everything in the right perspective first and foremost. 

God's blesses whomever He pleases to bless. We cannot confine blessings within the context of just being a "good person", since the bible clearly shows us that God also blesses those we would consider "not-so-good" people. Look at the following verses from Matthew 5...

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." 
(verse 44-45)

There is no point in arguing with that. God makes the sun rise on BOTH the evil and the good, and he sends rain on BOTH the just and the unjust. Maybe you would say that we can't use rain in this verse to denote God's blessings. Well, let's look at what Hebrews 6:7 says...

"For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God."

It clearly states that the rain that fell on the land is a blessing from God. Okay, that was quite easy to embrace. God does send blessings to whomever He pleases, regardless of how well we behave or not.

That very thought somewhat piqued my interest! First up, is this... If one person sits down and think about the fact that God also blesses the wicked, evil people in this world, then that sounds so unfair, right? Although we may acknowledge that God is Sovereign above everything, and we would establish that He can do whatever He pleases, this mind-setting can actually give way to some individuals looking at God as "unfair". 

Who wouldn't think of it that way? I mean, I'm sure you know one person or another who is unsaved; totally ungodly; uncompassionate; heartless and remorseless, but has everything going well for them. They're just living this life abundantly and fully while you (a christian and a trying-hard-to-be-good-to-everyone-person) struggles to make ends meet! Unfair? Yes, but only if one doesn't understand God's purpose behind the blessings.

Second, if God blesses BOTH the just and the unjust, or BOTH the good and evil individuals, then that has to become a warning to everyone of us. Why? I'm glad you asked. Because we might be living sinful, immoral, abominable lives before the eyes of a Holy God, but would never consider that fact because we are abundantly blessed by Him

This should cause us to stop and think about where we stand with our LORD, because it clearly shows that the blessings don't necessarily mean that God is pleased with our lifestyle! We ought to examine our hearts and see if we belong to the evil and unjust group that are still blessed by a Sovereign and gracious God.

What's the point of the blessings then? Why should we even bother about them when God can give as He pleases? Allow me to share to you what God has had me learn lately.
While reading the book of Romans, I came across a verse about God's goodness that really jumped off of the page and gripped my heart. The verse was Romans 2:4...

"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"(ESV)

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (KJV)

I never understood the bigger picture until this verse took hold of me. God's goodness and forbearance and patience, or simply said God's BLESSINGS, have one purpose and one purpose only... to lead us to REPENTANCE!

We are to look at the mercy and grace of our loving Father not as something we should be taking for granted, nor should we think of them as rewards for OUR good works. 

The sole purpose of God's blessings in our lives is to show us that our God's everlasting kindness, His boundless love, His unfathomable grace showered upon us ought to open our eyes to His offer of Salvation to lost, undeserving, wretched, remorseless, wicked, empty, thirsty, tired souls. 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Destruction and misery are in their ways:
And the way of peace have they not known:
There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)

May our eyes see the true picture of the awesome goodness of our Great and Mighty God. May we realize that He has continued to "let His sun shine", and "sends His rain" even to a depraved and sinful world. 

May His goodness and mercy, as we see through the blessings He has lavished upon us each and every day, bring us to our knees to not only offer Him our thanksgiving and praise but to also behold His amazing grace and sweet mercy as we fall down before Him and REPENT of our wretchedness and sinfulness.

The bible clearly states that ALL have sinned. Not one of us is clean, or "good", before God's Holy eyes... and the bible also tells us that God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness (see Romans 1:18)... and that the wages of our sin is death (see Romans 6:23). These are the very reason why we all need a Savior. God's wrath will eventually come down to ALL who are not born again (see John 3).

My friend, God's grace is nothing but AMAZING! Because He loves us, HE has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him... He has made a way for us to be saved from His wrath... He has given us THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life... and whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life.

Do not take His kindness for granted... let it instead drive you to Godly sorrow that leads to repentance, that leads to Salvation (2 Cor. 7:10)...

May you and yours be blessed now and always!

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