By contributing writer, Ami
Blessed. It’s a word that often makes my skin crawl.
“I’m so blessed.” I cringe at the statement, hoping no one else can see the involuntary shudder.
Blessed is a perfectly biblical word, so what’s the big deal? Aren’t you being cynical? Surely, you’re just bitter because others have what you want.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to rejoice, but there’s no cynicism here.
I cringe because “blessed” seems to be merely a trend, a cliche, another word hijacked of its rich meaning.
“We just closed on our new house. #blessed”
“What a beautiful baby! #blessed”
“Praise God! My husband got a big promotion. #blessed”
“My awesome hubby just gave me the most gorgeous just because flowers. #blessed.”
Yes, blessed indeed.
“I just got diagnosed with cancer. #blessed”
“I’m so lonely I could scream. #blessed”
“We lost it all in an instant. #blessed”
“My husband died. #blessed”
Blessed? In these circumstances? I can see your mind reeling.
That’s crazy talk. Even seeing “hashtag blessed” next to situations of trauma or trial, seems jarring, wrong even.
I admit, were I to see a status like that on social media, it might be cause for concern. I’m not saying tragedy should be minimized to 150 characters.
Yet we’ve reduced blessedness to a hashtag on Facebook, truncating it to health, wealth and, prosperity. We’ve attached blessedness to circumstances and material things.
Don’t get me wrong, new babies, promotions, and beautiful marriages are all blessings for which to be thankful! I don’t want to diminish the beauty of these. They are exciting! They do cause our hearts to sing. God showers His people with good. And it is right to praise Him for blessings.
But is the presence of blessings what it really means to be blessed? Perhaps we’ve confused the two.
Is one still blessed when the tsunami hits: when a spouse dies, when a marriage is shattered by adultery, when a baby is born with a life-altering disability?
Believers, it’s time to reclaim this magnificent word. It’s time to know why you are blessed.
Here’s what Jesus has to say
And he opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” (Matthew 5)
Mourning? Persecution? Hunger?
It seems like Jesus values the exact opposite of what our culture proclaims.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Those who know their need, who recognize their utter dependency on God, these are truly blessed.
To know Jesus and belong to Him, is to be blessed. This is the definition.
A person who is blessed understands his weakness. He mourns his sin and rebellion toward God. He understands his need for mercy. He confesses his spiritual bankruptcy.
Blessed is the one who knows that without Christ, he cannot be pure in heart.
To be blessed is to be in right relationship with God, and it belongs to those whom Christ bought back from slavery through His death, burial, and resurrection.
I may not have made my point yet. Let me emphasize it a little more.
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)
Therefore, to be blessed is not built upon what I perceive as blessings.
I am blessed because Jesus paid the penalty for my sins, covering them with Himself.
I am blessed because Christ replaced my failures with His perfection.
I am blessed because He ever lives and intercedes for me.
I am blessed because He switched my guilty record with His spotless one.
To be blessed isn’t about Jesus’ things. It’s about Jesus Himself.
This isn’t merely a soap box comprised of flippant words. I write as one who has wrestled the deep questions. When my own “blessed life” was shattered, I had to reevaluate. Was I blessed only when I liked the blessings?
I had to find the Source. I had to know that to be blessed was wrapped up only in one thing: I am known and loved by God. He chose me and gave Himself for me. #blessed
Because I deserve a cup brimming with God’s wrath, even if He gives me an empty cup, I am still blessed.
Yet I say with the psalmist, “my cup overflows.” It is brimming with the reality of true blessedness. Jesus met my greatest need on the cross.
So my friends, be thankful for blessings. Rejoice over them!
But let’s hang our identities upon what it truly means to be blessed.