Monday, October 03, 2005

Selfish Blessings

Blessings from God are not to make us happy. Well, at least that is not to be there primary goal. However, it sure seems like when I pray or others pray for each other that we ask God "to bless us" which seems like a great thing to ask. I wonder though if the under current of that prayer is not some thing more like this, "Lord I want you to make me happy and comfortable and to make sure that nothing goes wrong in my life or the lives of my friends and family."

Now this is not a bad thing to want in itself, but too often Christian are so theological weak that they equate trials and tribulations with judgment from God. There is an old saying that attempts to answer those thoughts like this, "God is good, you are bad, now stop it." Is this not what Job's friends told him and incidentally were only saved from God's wrath b/c of the intercession of Job?

So really, I think I have this right before God, when we pray we should ask God to bless us according to His will for our lives as they are lived to fulfill the kingdom of God. No matter what comes we know we are living for the glory of God. Whether we are persecuted and imprisoned or have all the finest things on earth of our entire existence in the flesh we can know that we have the blessing of God.

As examples I think of John the Baptist, Paul and of course Christ himself. When they faced hard times, even death, they never wrote "woe is me God has abandoned me." No they kept their focus on the higher life, that of eternity. That is where the never ending blessing is, that is the finish line, that is the land of true blessing. This, here and now, is not the land of blessing. This is not the promised land, we have to cross the Jordan, whether that is the return of the Lord or death, we have not yet reached the land of blessing. So when you pray don't pray for good things to come your way, pray that you will be able to build the kingdom of God on Earth and reflected his love and goodness to all you see and all who hear of you. I call this living for the higher life.

Keep the end in mind. Live not for blessing on this Earth live for blessing in eternity.
"Live such a good life among the pagans that they may see your good deeds and praise your father who is in Heaven." - Mt 5:16
"For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." - Rom 8:18


jo! said...

well mark, that was certainly worth the wait... it's giving me much to mull over. I have been thinking over suffering quite a bit lately (as you might have gathered from my last post) and while journaling today asked the question, 'is it possible to know that you are suffering and still know that you are blessed?' and in part you've answered that here, that "whether we are persecuted and imprisoned or have all the finest things on earth of our entire existence in the flesh we can know that we can know that we have the blessing of God."

good thoughts, something that certianly needs to be raised and questioned. I'm glad you've pointed it out.

bubbles said...

to add to what you and Jo have both touched on, yes, I think it is possible to suffer and know that you are blessed by God.

last year, when I was involved the accident, it was a huge ordeal for me...but then again I'd never wish those circumstances on anyone. it became very evident that sometimes we're put in situations that God needs us to be in for the sake of others and His needs. God put me there for a reason, but not just any reason - for His reason. But in the end, I learned so much more about God and His love for me - and that's a powerful feeling. And even a year later, although he's recovered, I'm still continually praying for Gregory.

I think it boils down to being willing to be God's vessel. That things may not go the way we planned but that if we keep our eyes focused on the mark, we'll be fine - despite our feelings about the current circumstances.

i guess the "signature" of my email says it simply: 'don't miss out on the blessing just because it wasn't packaged the way you expected it to be'...i'm not sure where i heard that quote. but it's something i try to keep in mind when i find myself thinking about what i'd like to see happen in the day instead of what God wants to happen in the day