Summary: We are blessed when we draw our framer of reference for life from the Word of God rather than the counsel, behavior and attitudes of those who don't know God, don't want to know God, and despise God.
How to Be Blessed
As we begin this new year, I want to bring blessing upon our church. In the next few weeks we will be exploring the theme of obtaining God’s blessing from various parts of the Bible. God desires to bless us and has provided us with a blueprint for receiving His great blessings, it is called the Bible. The Bible is a book about how to receive God’s blessings.
As we explore this theme, I have to offer the following disclaimer. This is not about getting rich. This is not about naming and claiming. This is not about getting blessed in the way some religious people use the phrase. Our definition of blessed is threefold:
1) To be especially happy and content
2) To have inner peace within
3) To be confident and fulfilled
This is the definition of blessed that we will use as we explore this particular theme of obtaining God’s blessing.
There are a number of Scriptures we could use as a launch point, but I think it is proper to begin with Psalm 1, which provides a solid beginning framework for beginning this series of sermons.
Verse 1 begins with a description of becoming blessed by avoiding bad company. We cannot receive God’s blessing if we receive our direction for life (COUNSEL) from those who don’t know God, the ungodly. We cannot receive the blessing of God if we adopt the behavior of sinful people. We cannot expect to obtain God’s blessing if we become comfortable with the attitudes of those who are bitter and scornful.
This does not mean that we are not to associate with ungodly people. Paul wrote to the church of Corinth (see I Corinthians 5) that we must not associate with those who call themselves believers but act in a manner contrary to the way believers are supposed to conduct themselves. He provides a list of such misbehavior just to make it perfectly clear what sort of conduct he means. Then he declares that he is not speaking of separating from unbelievers, because he declares that in order to do so we would have to leave the world.
Jesus associated with people of low repute. I think, perhaps, one of the greatest examples is the meeting of Jesus and the woman at the well in Samaria. Here was a woman of ill repute. She had such a bad reputation and was shunned in such a way that she could not even go to draw water early in the morning with the other women. She had sought fulfillment in her relationships with men. She had been married five times and was, at the time of her encounter with Christ, shacked up with another man. She had sought happiness in her ability to attract and please men. She was, in common terms, a tramp.
Psalm 1:1 is not telling us never to associate with sinful people, it is telling us not build our lives on their philosophy (Counsel), their behavior (Way), and on their attitudes (SCORNFUL). This can be a delicate balancing act. Jesus managed to associate with sinful people and bring spiritual renewal into their lives. We must be careful when associating with such people that we aren’t deceived into adopting their philosophy, behavior or attitudes. We must always remember that if one stands on a table attempting to lift someone up to the tabletop it is always easier for the person on the ground to pull the guy on the tabletop down. We must be cautious in our relationships that we minister to sinful people without becoming corrupted by their philosophy of life, bad behavior, and wrong attitudes.
Psalm 1:2 gives us a positive. We find strength in God’s Word. To meditate on God’s Word means to spend time in deep consideration of it. Such meditation includes finding application of its themes. For example, one theme that I have found the need to apply in my life is the need to be a peacemaker. God has called us to “pursue peace” and we have to chase peace with others because peace is elusive. The devil is constantly trying to stir up divisions, but God calls us to be peacemakers. Blessed are the peacemakers because, according to Jesus, they shall obtain the reputation of being the children of God. So, we discover such a principle that needs to be built into our lives and we apply God’s Word in such a way that we begin to take delight in its application into our daily lives.
Did you ever notice that is much easier to read and enjoy modern literature than the word of God? That modern mystery, or Science Fiction novel just seems to attract our attention in a way that God’s Word does not. It isn’t that we should not read those other things, but they don’t impact our lives as the Word of God does. We must make the effort to recognize the impact of God’s Word and find delight in it. We should be delighted when we discover a theme that we can apply and make our own. It builds strength, but it takes effort, it takes discipline. We must make the effort to get God’s Word into our hearts, into our attitudes, and into our daily lives.