In my walk with Christ I have tended to stray from feeling entitled to be “blessed by God”. I’ve been leery about “going after” His blessings or even desiring them. Mostly because of the “prosperity message” that has run rampant in the church. For those who are not aware, this message is rooted and laced in the lie that we are entitled to be given “stuff” by God. That if we just “name it and claim it” it is ours.
Now, Holy Spirit can lead us to make declarations which may result in His provision, but that is being Spirit led, not man-led. Indeed there is a huge difference. Being Sprit-led is being in agreeance with Christ and His will. Being man-led is being selfish and in agreeance with the flesh which is always self-serving. And so I’ve harbored a secret abhorrence to the word “blessing” as I feared God may think I am just after Him for His gifts. That I am just after Him for His stuff. But now I am learning that we, as the descendants of Abraham, are a blessed people. And this blessing is not limited to “stuff”. Indeed, God wants to bless us.
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
Several years ago, after a period of testing and waiting on God, there seemed to be an “open heaven” over me and the blessings of God flooded my life. Yes, I was blessed during this time of testing, I had food to eat, a roof over my head, and work to do, however the blessings I am referring to were the desires of my heart being met. Suddenly, in a very short time, my waiting had ended and I was overcome with God’s blessings.
He saw my waiting, and rewarded it.
This was news to me. Why would God reward me for doing what He commanded? After all, I’m supposed to! I mean, that is a given, right? Plus, it was His Spirit in me that gave me the strength to wait. But what I experienced then, and what I’m learning now, is that obedience precedes blessings. People from the outside looking in, may think God is spoiling you. They may think you get everything you want. But they have no idea the road you have traveled to receive His blessings.
There are times God will just bless. There is no obedience required. But just as with Abraham, there are times when the blessing requires a challenging, grueling, walk of faith (I mean, the man waited forever for his kid, and then he was asked to sacrifice him!). During this walk of faith, God gives you all of the requirements to be victorious.
I look back on my time of testing and I see how He equipped me to overcome. And I remind myself of His blessings at the end of that period. I remind myself that He is good, even when my mind is confounded. “God will confound the mind to test the heart”-Church Pierce (A Time to Advance). But we are called to “lean not unto our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:5-6). That means, that when things look crazy, and you don’t understand what God is doing in your life, and you doubt His goodness towards you, trust Him anyway. And know, that He will reward your faithfulness to Him. Not because He has to. But because He wants to.