You Keep Saying that Word…

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Something I hear people, especially Christians, say quite often is how “blessed” they are. But, I wonder where they’re getting their definition of what a blessing is. Of course, what people are usually referring to when they talk about how “blessed” they are is physical belongings, money, and other worldly things. Yes, people also refer to being “blessed” with family, health, and other advantages, but are these things really blessings?

In the Old Testament, there are a couple of places where “blessings” refer to earthly things and people, most notably in Deut 28:3-8 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

However, in the New Testament, Jesus makes it immediately obvious how He defines blessings: Matt 5:3-12

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Sermon on the Mount as it is often called, represents a paradigm shift in conventional understanding as it relates to “blessings”. Where the religious elite of the day placed all their emphasis on the outward appearance and understanding of being “blessed” with wealth and power, Jesus turned this idea completely around as if to say, “No! THIS is what blessings really are!”

So, are you really blessed? Are you praying for and realizing TRUE, Christian blessings in your life, or do you still believe your new car, house, or boat is a great “blessing” from God? I hope you will be truly blessed as I hope I will be, too.

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