Just like any other group of people, Christians have their own lingo – words and phrases that we use that are particular to us. And there’s usually nothing wrong with those words. But sometimes we forget to explain what they mean to new believers. Or even worse, we use them ourselves without ever learning what they actually mean.
We use the words “blessed” and “blessings“ several times on this website, and we want to be sure our visitors understand what we (and the Bible) mean by this term.
The first mention of the term is found very early in the Bible, in Genesis 1:28, when God blessed Adam. Thereafter it is found in some form 477 times in the Bible – so we can understand that it is a significant concept. But do we really understand what it means?
In Genesis 12:1-3 we read about God calling Abram (later renamed Abraham) to embark on a journey where the destination would be revealed to him as he stepped out in faith. When God made this call He also made a promise to Abram:
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
It is obvious from this quote that blessings are the opposite of curses, and it is easy to think that being blessed has something to do with wanting good things to happen. Being blessed certainly is a positive thing, and it is something we should want. But there’s more to it than God simply giving good things to Abram and his family.
Blessing is primarily about being in relationship – a right relationship – with God. It’s about the ability to confidently and truthfully say that you are a friend of God; that you are one of His people. It means to know there are no issues between you and God –that there’s nothing that would cause division or tension.
At the heart, blessing is not the getting good things, but the relationship. When the relationship is right, the joyful consequence is that you will receive the good things – by virtue of being a child of the Almighty God.
Jesus blessed us by dying on the cross. When He died for us, He did the impossible by opening the way for the relationship between God and us to be restored. When we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour, we go from God’s enemies and being estranged from Him to His own people, His friends and His children.
The Message Bible describes it like this, in Colossians 1:21-23:
“You yourselves are a case study of what He does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of Him, giving Him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving Himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in His presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted”.
When we talk about how God has blessed us, therefore, we are saying first and foremost that God has accepted us into a relationship with Him. We also say that He has expressed that relationship by giving us good things to enjoy. Once again, as the The Message Bible describes it in 1 Timothy 6:17:
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage – to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that , they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life”
God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham when He entered into covenant with him. Many years later, James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:
“… Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23)
To be a friend, they had to have a relationship. And Abraham became an exceedingly wealthy and powerful person in his time – mightily blessed, indeed!
Here at WordWise, we would love to help you establish a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, to grow in faith by understanding and applying His Word, and to enjoy all the good things that flow from this relationship. One of the most important ways to accomplish this is by joining a good, Bible-based local church in your area. To understand why this is important, please read my blog, 10 Benefits of the Local Church.