Do you want to be blessed?
To be blessed, put simply, is being protected and cared for by God, and to be provided with something good or desirable. In Hebrew, the word “blessed” – or barak – means to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity (fruitfulness), and longevity.
Wow. I definitely want that. Who wouldn’t?
Well, honestly, I don’t really care one way or another. I just want to live a simple life, do the things I’ve come to do, and go when it’s my time.
Okay. But this simple life that you aim to live, don’t you want it to be a healthy life? A happy life? A life that’s safe from danger? Sure you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be going to see the doctor at the first hint of sickness, getting that recurring headache checked out by the specialist, studying the horoscopes to see your monthly fortunes, or getting updated about the latest on what to eat or avoid for health and safety benefits.
The Bible promises “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, emphasis mine). The word “saved” is the Greek word “sozo” (because the whole New Testament was originally written in Greek, which was the official language used globally at that time).
Many people take this to mean “saved from hell and the judgement of God”, which it does, but the primary meaning of the word “sozo” is this: to make well, heal, restore to health, and to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction.
Throughout the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus would often tell the people He healed, “Your faith has made you well” or “Your faith has healed you”, and the Greek word used there for “made well” or “healed” is “sozo”. The only thing these people who got healed did was to believe that Jesus had good intentions towards them and that He could heal them. Believing in Jesus will restore you to health and keep you safe from danger or destruction!
The name Jesus literally means “Yahweh saves” or “salvation” (Matthew 1:21, Psalm 91:16). The reason Jesus came was to offer you and me restoration, protection, and saving in every area of life.
When you place your trust in Jesus, it is His responsibility to make good His promises to you. Your life turns from trying to work things out on your own to resting in His grace and being led by His Spirit. He will grow and prosper the unique gifts and talents He has placed in you, and you will start to see changes in your life that come effortlessly. It can’t get simpler than this.
But I’ve been a Christian for so many years, and I don’t see these blessings in my life or in the life of other Christians.
Too many of us reckon the truth of God’s word and His promises to us by the state of our current circumstances. We need to realise that when we reckon God’s word as true and definite, then our circumstances will surely line up with His word and promises to us, whether we see it now or not.
Our relationship with God is based on Jesus in us and His promises to us through His Word, not through what’s happening in other people’s lives or our life, good or bad. In the Bible, we see every one who put their trust in the Lord get blessed – Abraham becoming very rich and his wife getting protected from heathen kings, Isaac reaping a hundredfold in times of famine, Jacob having one son after another, and all living full lives well over 120, even though their behaviour wasn’t altogether perfect. Even all the women who were barren at first received their miracle child in the end.
And I can’t speak for others, but I’ve seen in my own life astonishing breakthroughs and transformations in my job, marriage, relationships that came unexpectedly, and also progressively, simply by resting in His favour towards me and my identity in Christ. The more we trust in His goodness and grace to us, the more we will see good manifest, and our bad turn to good.
If we have already believed that Jesus is God, as He said He is, then it stands to reason that He would not lie to us about anything else. And if we are sure beyond the shadow of a doubt of our salvation in Christ, then everything else He promised to us will surely happen too.
As a Christian, we will never lose. God’s great love for us is our unchanging reality. Joy, peace, and hope within us remains, even when the chips are down. And even if we should lose our life here on earth, we still win, for we will immediately find ourselves in heaven with the Lord, without fear, pain, or sorrow any longer, feeling more alive than we ever did.
Well, I haven’t been a Christian, and I’m pretty blessed already. I’ve a beautiful wife, great kids, nice house, healthy balance in my bank account, and everything I could possibly want.
No doubt, that may be so. But are you concerned about your health as you get older, that you may one day contract a dreaded disease? Are you worried when your children travel today, not knowing when and where terrorism might rear its ugly head? Do you have the assurance that even if you lose your job, your family, everything, you will still be taken care of? Only faith in a loving God who will never fail you can give you everlasting peace.
Every single belief system in the world outside of Christianity relies on an assessment of your good works vs your bad to decide whether in the end you make it to heaven/paradise or you wind up in hell and eternal suffering. Many people have decided that this is just too hard, and so they abandon any form of religion altogether. And they’re smart, because it is too hard. In fact, it’s impossible. We can never be that good.
And in His amazing love, God offers: Believe in Jesus, go to heaven. Just like that. Today, many churches and well-meaning preachers are reluctant to proclaim the simplicity of the gospel because they are afraid that people will take God for granted and not do all the good things that Christians are supposed to do. But they don’t realise that in doing so, they’re devaluing the saving grace of God and turning Christianity into just another impossible religion. Is obedience important? Sure, but that’s God’s department. So don’t worry about it. Just believe in Jesus, and let Him take care of the rest, including obedience.
If you choose to depend on yourself and your good works, you can never be certain if you’re good enough at the end, when all – both dead and alive – have to stand before the great throne of judgement of God. You may not choose to believe that God exists, or that there’ll be such a day, but that doesn’t change the fact that He does, and there will be. You may have had a great life here on earth, but come that day, you are on your own with your testimony.
Or you can choose to take Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and get everything that belongs to Him. His testimony will be your testimony. His place of righteousness, prosperity, favour, protection, health, strength, and victory will be yours. Simply because you consented to take refuge under His wings.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.