Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What Blessed Means

                Have you ever lost something that was important to you? For instance you look down at your hand one morning and realize that your wedding ring is gone. What do you do? You go looking for it, of course. You search every nook and cranny, moving furniture, and tearing apart your entire home until you find it. When you finally find it, there is that moment of thankfulness and then that sense of joy and security that settles back into your heart. Everything is where it is supposed to be and you are once again content. These past few weeks have been difficult for me. I have struggled every day for some reason. I said to a friend of mine that I feel like I have lost that passion, that fire that I once had. For some reason I just can’t seem to find it. I have prayed, tried to read the Word, but no matter what I do I just don’t feel very happy. I feel like I have lost Him and I can’t figure out where He is at. But, we all know that when we do not feel close to God it is not because He moved, it is because we moved.
                My friend called it the ebb and flow of life. Sometimes we are on fire and sometimes we are just slowly burning away. I am used to being on fire, so these days of slow burning are hard for me to understand. But, here I am, wondering where the fire went and trying to figure out how to get it back. I haven’t been very happy, and lately I have not been very content, and I could not figure out why.
                “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in His ways!”
Psalm 119:1-3 ESV
                Did you know that the word “blessed” occurs almost 300 times in the Bible? When you think of the word blessed you probably think of someone who has just about everything they ever wanted. They are happy, content and have a good life. But as I read these words in Psalm 119 again, I found myself asking if I truly understood what it meant to be blessed. In our society today I think we think that blessed means wealth. If we have food on our table, a roof over our heads, jobs, cars, and all the trimmings then we are blessed. But I have found that the more stuff I have the less content I am. The more stuff I have, the more I have to be responsible for. The more junk I acquire in this life, the more space I have to have to store it and the more money I have to make to pay for the storage of it. If blessed is having stuff, then I am not sure I want to be that blessed!
             If we take a closer look we will see that the Bible does not say that those who have lots of stuff are blessed. In fact, the one who wrote these verses in Psalm 119 never even refers to possessions of any kind in regards to being blessed. He writes that the person who is blessed is the person who chooses to walk uprightly with God. The person who is blessed is blameless. Now, blameless does not mean that we never screw up, mess up or sin. Blameless means that we choose to walk in a way that is pleasing to the Lord at all times. Our happiness is not dependent upon how much stuff we have or how much money we make. Our happiness is a direct result of our relationship with our Lord. The closer we walk with the Lord, the happier a people we will be.
                We also learn that the person who is truly blessed walks in the law of the Lord. What is the law of the Lord? Is it the Ten Commandments? Is it the instructions given to Moses in Leviticus? What is the law of the Lord? The law of the Lord is His word to His people. It is His instructions given to us in regards to every area of our life. Everything we ever need to know about life, love, and happiness is found in His Word. The person who is blessed is the person who not only reads it but who also applies it to their life. The blessed will be altogether His and will listen to His every word.
                We will never truly understand what it means to be blessed until we wholly commit to the law of our Lord, until we wholly commit to His Word. When Jesus lists off the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11, He does not mention possessions, wealth, careers or titles as a characteristic of blessed people. We are not a blessed nation because we have great wealth. If anything this wealth has caused us Americans to be ungrateful, selfish, prideful boasters of worldliness and sin. Blessed has nothing to do with the outward life, but has everything to do with the inward heart of man. Blessed does not mean that we have a lot of stuff or that we can afford to go out and buy a bigger home or expensive sports car. Blessed does not mean having lots of possessions; blessed means that we know and desire to know the One who possess us.
                The writer also tells us that those who keep His testimonies are blessed. We are blessed when we are obedient to His word. When we keep guard over our hearts and do not turn from the right hand or the left, but stay straight ahead on the path He has set us on. Happiness is not about us, and is not dependent on our circumstances. Happiness is about Him and our relationship with Him. Without Him we can never truly be happy. Our greatest and most fulfilling days upon this earth are the ones in which we keep His Word.
                He has shown us the way in which to walk. He has instructed us in this way of life. He has given us His word to teach us how to walk, talk, think and feel. We will never understand what being blessed means until we make His Word and our relationship with Him our priority. True happiness, true joy is found only in Jesus Christ. The way that we must take to finally reach true blessedness is written down for us in His Word, it is our road map to complete and utter blessedness. Happy is the man who finds this path!

                We can also learn from these verses in Psalm 119:1-3 that for us to be blessed, for us to experience this abundance of happiness and joy in our lives we must commit to seeking Him with our whole hearts. Notice the last part of verse 2 tells us that those who are blessed will “seek Him with their whole hearts”. When you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. We strive to reach temporal goals. We rearrange our lives to amass wealth, status, titles, and beauty. We give up and sacrifice our families and our marriages because we want that promotion, but we are not willing to rearrange our lives or sacrifice any part of ourselves to seek out the One who created us.
                If we want God in our lives bad enough we will give up everything and do whatever it
takes to find Him. He promises us in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek Him we will find Him if we seek Him with our whole heart. To seek God with your whole heart means that you will give your time and attention to Him. You will set aside your daily life, your daily desires, and your daily self to find Him. You will rearrange your life; you will tear apart your whole house until you find Him. If we desire Him bad enough we will give up, rearrange, and do whatever is necessary to make Him number one in every aspect of our lives.

                Being blessed has nothing to do with outward things. It has nothing to do with possessions. If we truly want happiness, if we truly want to claim the blessed life then we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to know Him just as He knows us. We must be willing to put His Word as a priority over our lives. Not just reading it, but applying it to our lives. If we want to change and be the blessed people God has called us to be, then we have to be willing to make Him and His word number one in every area of our lives. No matter what it takes, no matter what we have to do, if we want Him bad enough, we will make a way. We will sacrifice if we want Him bad enough. Blessed does not mean one who has lots of possessions. Blessed means knowing and desiring to know the One by whom you are possessed. Amen?