Is the devil in the Blessing Business?
Well, at least it starts out feeling like a blessing.
Be honest. Have you ever prayed for something that you knew (or suspected) was outside of God’s perfect will – but you received it anyway?
At that divine moment of “answered prayer”, did you ever feel like, “Wow, I was wrong. It must’ve been God’s will for me to have ________. Otherwise, why would He give it to me?
That person, place, or thing became the object of your testimony – look what God has done! Your whole world was filled with delight. You told your family and friends about how “the Lord has blessed me.” And, when they didn’t return the same joy or congratulations you expected, you chalked it up to jealousy, envy, “such haters”…
But, eventually, something strange happened. After the thrill of victory wore off, and you had ________ for a while now – the blessing began to turn on you! Uh oh…
When Blessings Go Bad
How many of you have experienced a “blessing” that turned on you?
Has your “Won’t He do it” ever turned into “Won’t He get me outta this?”
We knew when we signed the papers and bought that _________, we couldn’t afford to maintain it. Now, it causes extreme, undue stress, trying not to lose it. How embarrassing it would be to lose our “blessing”, right?
Or, how many relationships did we pray for God to bless that He didn’t even accept, call, or choose to be in our lives? We knew he or she had non-negotiable issues – but we were determined to fast and pray them to change. We became gods in our own eyes, creating relationships to mirror the image of our own fantasies.
So, ok. It may not be that the devil is blessing us as much as this: God often allows the manifestation of our selfish, flesh-filled desires to teach us. Desires that are aptly disguised with great intentions and grand promises that are just as hole-y as our self-righteous, filthy rags.
Aren’t you grateful that God would not leave us ignorant?
And, sometimes, delivering us from ignorance involves many days, weeks, months, or years of being chained to our choices and living out our consequences (1 Peter 2:20).
I hated mine, you too? It’s tough love, but love nonetheless, where God’s mercy tolerates our pain, but doesn’t let the pain destroy us.
Did the Blessing Become an Idol?
When’s the last time we spent quality time with God after receiving our “blessing”? Have we confused “gain” with “godliness”? Because we were blessed with _______, God must be so pleased with us? We no longer need THAT much prayer, church, giving, etc.
Our adversary would have us believe that earthly success, wealth, and fame MUST be an indication that God is blessing us. Don’t be deceived, Teammates! Better yet, run from any person, any leader who teaches that money equals godliness, or financial wealth is the barometer of God’s anointing (1 Timothy 6:5-6).
While there is nothing inherently wrong with being successful, wealthy, or famous, if these things pull us away from Christ, or out of God’s will, and into things that displease the Lord – how, again, can a curse “bless” you?
Discern Your “Blessings”
So, how can you tell if something is a blessing, a gift from God – or just another one of the enemy’s counterfeits fueled by self?
1. Be honest about your motives and agenda.
Tell the truth – especially to yourself. We may be able to fool people around us, but we cannot fool God. Is the prayer, “Lord, I want to win the lottery so I can help others”, truly honest? Have you helped others with what you already have – time, resources, a kind word? What’s the real deal? Why are you pursuing ________?
God searches and knows our heart. Ask Him to reveal any selfish, hidden motives in you (Psalm 139:23-24). Repent and commit to aligning your will and desires with His. Therein will lie His blessings for you.
2. Know that every good and perfect gift comes from God.
When God blesses us, the gift will never turn on us (James 1:17). For in God, there is no “variableness” or “shadow of turning”. God’s nature toward His gifts will never change, neither will the goodness within the gift.
The blessings God gives are perfect – complete and whole. You never have to worry about God being an Indian giver. His blessings are predestined and eternal.
3. God’s gifts add no sorrow.
When God blesses you, it does no harm, no damage to your life or relationships (Proverbs 10:22). His blessings will richly add – not subtract – to your life spiritually, emotionally, mentally – not just financially. You will not be named among the many depressed and miserable millionaires and billionaires. The goal of God’s blessings is to prosper your soul for a wealthy legacy of godly living.
4. God’s love is greater than our earthly fathers.
Many of us have experienced great love from our Dads. Yet, even the best earthly fathers are still sinners who need the saving grace of Jesus Christ. If our flawed fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, would our perfect, heavenly Father ever fall short (Matthew 7:11)? Nonsense! God loves us more than anyone else could ever imagine. He demonstrates His love by giving us His best.
5. God gifts us with unanswered prayer – be grateful!
No good thing will He withhold from you (Psalm 84:11). So, if you don’t receive it, keep it, have it – it wasn’t good for you. Be grateful for every one of God’s loving No’s. Give thanks that He cares enough for us to not allow our begging and pleading for something that would destroy us to come to pass. It won’t feel good on the front end, but when God reveals what would’ve been – whew! Thank you, Lord!
So, What’s the Play Call?
Trust God’s choice blessings over what you think you need or want. Allow the joy of the Lord – what brings God joy – to be your strength, your hope, your pursuit (Nehemiah 8:10). When you do, you will never have to experience the regret and decay of a blessing gone bad. So, be truly blessed!