What Does It Really Mean to Be Blessed?

March 22, 2019

"What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away."

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

A friend of mine suffered a miscarriage eight months into her pregnancy. She gave birth to a stillborn son. In her agony, she cried out to God and questioned how she could be "blessed" when her physical reality presented so much pain.

There is a reason the season of Lent begins with ash. For as many moments as we spend in celebration, there are just as many when we fall to our knees, crying out to God in pain. So, what does it mean to be "blessed"?

According to Paul, the “fullness of joy” and the solidification of our hope comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 15:13). The Christian life exists under this Truth—that, despite our circumstances, we live and move in a new reality of constant blessing, which, according to God’s Word, means to be in relationship with God, clinging to and enjoying the assurance of His love for us. No matter what.

However, to enjoy this truth we must make room in our hearts to receive it. In the season of Lent, we intentionally acknowledge all the ways in which we have found comfort and identity in our circumstances. We actively reorient our hearts toward the certainty and safety of our relationship with God and His unrelenting love for us. To know this, to rest in it, and to wish it for others—this is what it means to be blessed.

Therefore, if blessing can’t be found in earthly perfection, we boldly mark our foreheads in ash. In doing so, we attest to the limitations of this fleeting world and our deep, deep need for more. Fittingly, the ash is administered in the shape of a cross because we have found our hope in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

This joy in what Jesus has done for us cannot be contained. We share it with others out of the mercy that was shown to us. To embody truth and bless others is, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, to boast in all that we actually need and all we actually have: Christ, who hides Himself from no one and is available to all!

This impacts the “messaging” around our lives; how we present what constitutes merit and deserves affection is never the same. When this truth is embodied in God’s people and reflected back into the world, we are able to offer a loving response to those who are hurting. From this truth, may the world know how much they are loved. May they be blessed!

Reflection questions:

1. Are you able to say you are loved by God through any circumstance?

2. What needs to be reoriented in your heart in order to be able to receive the Biblical truth of blessing?

3. In light of the Gospel, the greatest injustice in the world is that people do not know how much they are loved. How will you tell others about how much they are worth?

*   *   *

Jordan Tanksley is the LAB Ministry Fellow at Redeemer Downtown.