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Blessed or Stressed

Health issues. Finances. Relationships. School or work deadlines. These are just some of life’s hurdles that cause our blood pressure to rise and our hearts to race.

I’m involved in a ministry that reveals truth to people’s hearts, freeing them to live life abundantly.  When I invite my Christian friends to our foundations of freedom classes, I often hear things like, “Thank you, but I’m blessed.”

I had lunch with a friend recently who said she has trouble with the word blessed.  Social media is flooded this time of year with various products and pictures sporting the slogan: Grateful, Thankful and Blessed.

However, is the person struggling with a chronic illness like depression blessed? Or the person who can’t make their next house payment? Or what about the couple who is going through a divorce? Or is grieving the loss of a loved one?

The answer to these questions lies in scripture.  In Matthew 5:11, Jesus says our blessedness is because of Him.  Therefore, it’s important for us to realize being blessed is not always contingent on our circumstances.

The Hebrew word for blessed is barak and the Greek word is makarios. It means to praise, give thanks, congratulate, or speak well of others.  In some contexts, to give a blessing is to act kindly or impart benefits to the one being blessed.

This Thanksgiving we’ll gather around a festive table with family and thank God for our many blessings: friends, family, good health, our homes, jobs…

God is certainly involved in such blessings, but these circumstances don’t have to be present for us to be blessed. Markario also means to be characterized by the quality of God. In other words, anything that God is in is blessed.

Let’s be real for a moment. Life isn’t always rosy. Terrible things happen. In 2013, my husband lost a prestigious and lucrative job he held for over 20 years. Overnight, our life changed drastically.  Instead of allowing my circumstances to rock my world, I chose to focus on God and His Word because He alone, satisfies my soul. We came into this world with nothing and will leave with nothing (1 Tim. 6:6-7).

The Apostle Paul learned to be content with nothing, because he experienced a deep satisfaction that came from an intimate relationship with Jesus. He drew strength from Jesus, not himself or this world.

In Charles Dicken’s  A Christmas Carol, the Cratchit family struggles to put food on the table and buy the medicine needed to care for their young, crippled son. Tiny Tim is expected to die unless their circumstances change. But through it all, we see the Cratchits’ giving thanks to God because they put their trust in the Lord not their circumstances.

Blessedness comes from satisfaction when we depend on Jesus to meet our needs. Every one of them. God’s life-long goal for us is to become more like Christ every day.  Since we can’t do this alone, He gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us.

Could blessedness be about our perspective then? When viewed through scriptural lenses, it’s progressive in nature as we learn to think and act like Jesus. This is a life-long process; we’re not made complete in Christ until His return (Phil. 1:6).

Questions for prayer and reflection:

  1. Think of a time when circumstances rocked your world. Did you see the blessing during storm?
  2. How did those circumstances change the way you previously thought about things?
  3. How did you draw strength from Christ and how did He meet your need?