Responding to God's Blessings
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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The life of faith might be described as living in the circle of blessing. It begins with God, who blesses us (Ps. 134:3). This means that God bestows goodness upon us, giving us material, relational, and spiritual benefits as an expression of his grace. As James writes in his New Testament letter: "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created the lights in the heavens" (James 1:17).
What do we do when we receive God's blessings? Well, in part, we simply receive them, enjoying the gifts he lavishes upon us with open arms. We pause to reflect with gratitude upon what the Lord has given to us: our life and our faith, our families and our friends, our work and our world, our rest and our sleep.
Then, having paid attention to God's blessings, we respond by blessing God. Where our translation of Psalm 134:1 reads, "Oh, praise the LORD," it actually uses the Hebrew verb "to bless," the same verb that appears in 134:3 to describe what God does for us. Of course, we don't bless him in the same way he blesses us. We have nothing material to give to God. We can't improve the quality of his life. But we can offer our words of thanks and praise. We can proclaim God's glorious grace, both within the gathered community and in the world. And we can give to God that which he does not have apart from our act of blessing: our love, devotion, and life lived in service to him.
When I think of our blessing of God, I remember times when my children were young and they gave me a present for my birthday. They had no money of their own, and, in actuality, spent money I had earned to give me a gift. Though their "blessing" of me in this way didn't add to my net worth, what I loved more than words can express was the cards they made to accompany the gifts and the devotion those cards communicated. They blessed me in a way I could not otherwise receive, and it gladdened my heart.
So it is in our relationship with the Lord. When we thank him for his blessings, when we lift our voices to praise him, when we live our lives for his glory, God is blessed. His heart rejoices. And we live in the circle of blessing.
Mark Roberts is a regular contributor to TheHighCalling.org and the Senior Advisor and Theologian-in-Residence for Foundations for Laity Renewal. This article is adapted with permission from his original article "Living in the Circle of Blessing" at TheHighCalling.org. All rights reserved.
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