by site founder, Connie Rice
It is common for people to expect to receive God’s blessings. Unfortunately, some even pull away from God when they don’t experience His blessings, thinking that He does not keep His promises. Is this true? The Bible offers examples of God being faithful to keep His promises. He initiated a covenant with Abraham – that Abraham would be the father of many nations, that he and his descendants would have land, and that all nations would be blessed through Him. That covenant was repeated by God Himself to several of Abraham’s descendants and in spite of the unfaithfulness of His chosen people, God was faithful to uphold His part of the covenant throughout hundreds of years to ensure all mankind would have a way of salvation from their sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Since God cannot lie, the promises He gives will be kept.
“God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?”Numbers 23:19
If God always fulfills His promises, then some might ask why they have not personally received what He promises in the Bible. Years ago, I used to give books of God’s promises to nonbelievers and new believers so they would see how amazing He is. I quit doing that when I realized that some of the promises included were not in context and were meant for particular people in a particular time and not meant for all people or even for all believers. I pray that those who received those books from me did not turn away from God, thinking Him to be unfaithful.
We are all dead in our sin outside of God’s gracious offer of forgiveness to all who ask with sincere hearts – a free gift that we don’t deserve – it is only by His grace that we can be saved.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
Those who receive God’s free gift by believing in Jesus Christ for salvation also receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as a seal of salvation. The Holy Spirit helps us understand the Bible, guides us in this life, intercedes for us when we don’t even know what to pray, empowers us with the supernatural ability to obey and serve God, and provides us with a spiritual gift to use in the Kingdom and for the benefit of others.
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.“Romans 8:10-13
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”2 Corinthians 1:21-22
““Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”1 Peter 4:10
Even if God’s forgiveness was all He offered so we would not have to stand in judgment at the end of our lives for all of our mistakes, it would be an amazing testimony of His mercy and grace. However, He includes eternity in heaven and power to live a life free from sin’s power through the Holy Spirit. These gifts are are free to us when we turn from our sins, ask for forgiveness, and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man, for salvation. His sacrifice paid the penalty for our sins so that His righteousness covers us. We have new life.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. “Romans 8:1-3
“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:20-23
In addition to those amazing free gifts, God offers even more blessings. What many may not know or understand is that these other blessings are conditional, so we need to fulfill the conditions in order to experience the blessings. Does Scripture teach that there is something we need to do or stop doing, or to change? Is there an attitude we need to adjust? Are our motives pure? What might be standing in the way of receiving God’s blessings? What does He say about who He blesses?
“Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You. Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.”Psalm 84:4-5
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, ‘Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you’. He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it’.”Luke 11:27-28
“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.”Psalm 119:1-2
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
God does not keep hidden how people can be blessed by Him. Some of the ways listed above include:
- Being in His house praising Him (church attendance).
- Placing our strength in Him (trusting God).
- Setting our hearts on pilgrimage (following His plan for our lives).
- Hearing the Word of God and obeying it.
- Walking according to the Lord’s law.
- Keeping His statutes (God’s commands).
- Seeking Him with all of our heart.
- Seeking intently into the perfect law – not forgetting it, but doing it.
- Keeping a tight rein on our tongues.
Jesus also teaches about God’s blessings in “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12) in His “Sermon on the Mount”. “Bible Study Tools” explains the Beatitudes in more detail here. A short video is included on that page.
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
- “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
- “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
- “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain 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 they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: 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.”
We can miss blessings that the Lord has for each of us in other ways at various times in our lives, as Scripture reveals below:
- If we neglect to ask or ask with selfish motives;
- If our pride gets in the way.
- If we have unforgiveness in our heart toward someone.
- If we have unconfessed sin.
- If God knows the timing isn’t right.
- If God knows that the blessing we want is not in our best interest.
- If we are stubborn or rebellious toward God’s teaching.
“You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”James 4:2
“In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble”1 Peter 5:5b
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”Matthew 6:14-15
“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”Proverbs 28:13
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”Ecclesiastes 3:1
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”Psalm 84:11
“If anyone turns a deaf ear to My instruction, even their prayers are detestable.”Proverbs 28:9
Being able to receive God’s blessings is not complicated. It begins with us accepting God’s free gifts and having a thankful heart for the blessings that He has already bestowed on us. Hopefully, the above examples will be helpful as reminders or in identifying areas where we may find ourselves at times. In fact, Jesus tells us which commandments are most important:
“‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one’, answered Jesus, is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.‘ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
When we love the Lord with all of our being, we will want to obey Him and trust in His plan for our lives. That allows us to experience so many blessings from God. I’ve found that reading through the Bible over and over again, asking the Holy Spirit each time I read to help me understand, has been hugely helpful in knowing God. He didn’t have to reveal Himself to us, but chose to and has protected His Word throughout history – yet another gift and a blessing!
© Constance Rice 2020