A Blessing for the New Year (Part Two)
Blessings have been a big subject the last few weeks at Alpine. This is in part because it is the New Year but also because there are so many things that we are thankful for as a community (especially considering how the recent fire at church was contained to a small portion of the building where no one got hurt). Many have commented on how they feel so blessed by God for a verity of reasons. As we have discuss, shared, and explored what a blessing is, two important truths that have emerged:
- Blessings are something God has already given to all of us
- Blessings are designed to bring us into life with God
Too often we think of Blessings as rewards for good behavior. Yet this goes counter to Paul’s proclamation that “God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing possible.” (Eph. 1)
Paul is grateful that he is so blessed, despite the fact he is sitting in chains in a prison (unjustly, based on false accusations we might add) when he writes those words. Paul had realized a secret that he desperately wanted to pass along to the church in Ephesus and by extension to us today. This secret was centered upon the truth that God’s big desire is for us to have life with God. Not a successful life on our own, dependent only on ourselves. But rather, a life of dependency upon God, filled with wondrous works of grace.
It is this idea this idea that God is constantly attempting to move us closer to life with God that is so important. Too often we are striving for pleasure, independence, and life apart from God. Because of this we tend to only look for certain kinds of blessings (ones that are decidedly material and fleeting) instead of the rich ones that God bestows on us that are permanent. The blessing of wisdom is a great example. Too often we are looking for an answer to a specific problem instead of a blessing of wisdom that allows us to be free of the entanglements of sin. Our focus becomes too narrow and we miss the blessing that God bestowed on us, never realizing how much God has actually given.
When we embrace this idea that God shapes blessings and gifts so that they to bring us into life with God, then we begin to grab and hold on to the many blessings that already surround us. We allow these blessing to not just bring comfort into our lives, but to sharpen, shape, mold, and transform us (as painful as the process might be) so that we – instead of constantly be looking to receive a blessing- can instead become blessings from God that bring so much hope and grace into the lives of others.
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