What Does it Mean to be Blessed?

What does it mean to be blessed? It seems that there is not one good answer since we all desire and enjoy different things in life. Thus the meaning of “being blessed” can vary from person to person. Common answers to what being blessed include: a loving family, an enjoyable job or career, to be healthy, to have financial security and the ability to buy the things we want, and having the free time to do the things we like to do. But does having all of these things really make us blessed? Is what our culture considers a “blessing” truly a blessing?

Like anything in life, when we begin to view life through the lens of our culture or the world rather than scripture, it ultimately leaves us empty and far short of the full life Christ wants us to live. If we think being blessed means always having a sufficient income, our view of what it means to be blessed by God is off.

We should certainly be thankful for what we are fortunate enough to have, but having these things doesn’t necessarily make us blessed. The things that we have certainly aren’t “bad” in and of themselves, but they do not necessarily equate to being blessed.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

-Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus never speaks to monetary value or safety or health as a sign of blessing. In fact, Jesus isn’t actually saying that you are blessed by anything that happens to you. Jesus isn’t saying the mourners, meek, merciful, peacemakers, etc. are blessed because they are mourners, meek, merciful, or peacemakers. He is saying that those who are blessed are those who seek God and are delighted by God’s reciprocal response.

Why are the mourners, meek, and merciful blessed? Because it puts them in a position to rely on God and experience him. Contentment often minimizes our perceived need for God because we no longer think we have to rely on him. It is great when life is going well and we aren’t  experiencing anything difficult, but that doesn’t mean those who are experiencing great difficulty are somehow less deserving of God’s blessing.

The problem ultimately lies with thinking that the object itself (health, money, etc.) is the blessing rather than God. When God provides you with the ability to take a nice vacation, the blessing is not the vacation, the blessing is experiencing God (in this case in his provision).

When we make the object of our blessing the actual blessing, we are missing the real blessing. Seeing God provide, answer prayers, comfort, and give grace is the true blessing; experiencing God is the blessing. When we allow our culture to dictate what is and is not a blessing, we have already lost. It’s not about money or fame or earthly happiness, it’s about Jesus.

Only when you experience Jesus are you truly blessed.

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