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Topic: Blessed (11/29/04)
TITLE: By Whom Are We Being Blessed
By Doug Laird
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If we are not to be outsmarted by the schemes of the devil, we must be aware that all “blessings” are not necessarily from God. Furthermore, temporal prosperity can all be taken away from us in a millisecond for a variety of reasons during the course of our lifetime & certainly at the moment of death.
An atheist can experience good health, great marriage, close family, wealth, social standing, education and great secular influence as a result of making positive decisions and taking advantage of the opportunities that comes his way. Such ”blessings” however, when produced through human talents & effort are not from God.
If anyone is willing to the price (Mark 8:36), he can choose to operate in the ways of the world and/or criminality & receive much more and much more quickly than one who operates according to the ways of God. Needless to say, such “prosperity” is not from God.
Satan is a master in the art of deception and will use overt prosperity just as effectively as he will use adversity in order to accomplish his objectives. Nothing glorifies Satan more than for someone to achieve secular success while living in direct and deliberate defiance & rejection of God and/or the things of God. Satan, as the “god of this age” (2Cor. 4:4 NIV) exercises much influence and dominion over the kingdoms of this world. He can & will bless anyone he chooses to in exchange for following him. He failed to do so with the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ; “And he said to him, “…I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.” (Luke 4: 6NIV). However, Satan has considerable success in distracting the majority of Christians from accomplishing the very purpose they are here (Luke 8: 14NIV).
In what theologians refer to as common grace, God blesses both saint and sinner alike (Matt.5: 45). Whenever a person is so arrogant that he asks what it is that God has done for him lately, he would be wise to consider the temporal significance of his next breath should God choose not to provide it!
There are some blessings, however, that are reserved for those believers who spiritually mature and as a result bring maximum glory to Him. They are intangible & cannot be earned or attained through human effort or ability. They cannot be perceived or appreciated by either unbelievers or by Christians who are “ infants in Christ” (1Cor. 3:1 NIV).
Adversity and the greater blessings that are from God are inseparable (2Timothy 3:12 NIV). The greater the blessing, the greater the adversity there will be if the blessing is from God.
Considering the criterion for blessing disclosed in such passages as Matthew 5: 10 &11, it is easy to see from human viewpoint why so many Christians shy away from the true road to blessing & seek alternative means to acquire blessings & prosperity. Hopefully by now, it is clear as to who encourages and endorses the “alternative” means that appeal to our fallen nature.
Job was “…blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1NIV). Satan’s claim was that the only reason Job was this way was because of all the blessings that God had given him, but that if God were to take the blessings away, Job “…will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:11 NIV). Satan was proven wrong in the case of Job, & but how many of us would fare as well?
Job was eventually blessed with more than he had at the onset of the adversity (Job 42:12).
Perhaps an even greater test & testimony of faith is to be seen in those who in this life never “receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance….” (Heb.11: 13 NIV).
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.