Friday, November 3, 2023


 Sometimes, the things you think are blessings turn out to be snares, and the things you discounted as unspectacular turn out to be priceless. The reason for this, generally speaking, is that when it comes to defining what a blessing is, we take our cues from others and their definitions. There is a discernable difference between what the Bible deems a blessing and what the world deems a blessing. That the church has, by and large, adopted the world’s definition of what being blessed is will have long-lasting ramifications. It is one of those chickens that has yet to come home to roost, but it’s ambling its way toward home nonetheless.

If my definition of blessing is material possessions, then when I am called upon to surrender them for the cause of Christ, I will hesitate because God wouldn’t bless me just to have me give it up, would He? I know what you’re thinking: no one’s that myopic or Biblically illiterate. To counter that, the defense presents as evidence exhibit one: Joel Osteen. The defense rests.

If he passes for a shepherd, what do you think the biblical literacy of the tens of thousands who hang on his every word is? Scared yet? You should be.

We knew it would take the right kind of environment for many to be deceived, offended, and betray one another. For that environment to materialize, the foundation of what people believed about God, their responsibility toward Him, and what He defined as a blessing had to be skewed and unbiblical. If people believed the Bible and stood on the foundation thereof, it would be difficult to deceive them or cause them offense.

That’s the one thing many don’t seem to understand about the season we’re entering into: the false prophets and false Christs won’t be seeking to deceive the already deceived. Those who will be offended and betray the brethren won’t be from without but from within.

How you define blessing, favor, or reward will be the prism through which you see events in your life. This matters because you will either be thankful for them or reject them and see them as a burden or a punishment when they weren’t meant to be either of those things.

Genesis 15:1, “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

To understand the magnitude of this exchange between Abram and God, we must understand the context. Abram had just successfully rescued Lot and all his goods, along with many other citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah and their goods, and the king of Sodom had informed Abram that as long as he released the people, Abram could keep all the treasure.

It is likely that the goods the king of Sodom was referring to were no paltry thing as they had been ransacked from the cities, but even so, Abram declined the offer because he’d promised God he wouldn’t take any of the spoils.

Abram didn’t go back on his word and say he’d take enough just to cover his expenses or maybe to throw a nice feast for his servants. He didn’t go back on his word and then try to justify doing so by pulling out pie charts and cash flow ledgers.

Even though he was a rich man, Abram understood instinctively what James would later emphasize, that though he may be rich, if a man’s pursuits are possessions, he will fade away in his pursuits. Abram, who would later become Abraham, was a rich man whose heart was not consumed by his riches but rather by a relationship with God.

Though offered the treasures of Sodom and Gomorrah, he begged them off, content in being obedient and faithful to the promises he’d made to God. For his faithfulness, God told Abram He would be his shield and his exceedingly great reward.

The presence of God was the reward Abram received, which God considered a far greater treasure than anything the king of Sodom might have offered him. Abram didn’t come back and say he’d prefer the stuff or that he’d expected more. He didn’t feel like he’d made a bad trade or gotten the short end of the deal.

The question is whether or not we have the same mindset as Abram. Do we consider God as being our exceedingly great reward, or is He just a means to an end, someone we permit in our life because of all the other stuff that comes along with Him?

Harsh as that may sound, that’s exactly how people treat God, view Him, and approach Him. They do not see Him as their exceedingly great reward but as the vehicle by which they can obtain what they deem to be it. For some, it’s fame; for others, it’s fortune. For others, still, it’s influence and notoriety, but whatever is, if God is not the terminus, if He is not the singular desire of your heart, then at some point in your journey, you will forfeit the presence of God in exchange for what the desire of your heart is.

Do you want to be famous? Put on a dress and make a fool of yourself. Do you want influence? Announce your newfound atheism, and the godless will flock to your progressive ways.

You either have Him and are satisfied, or you are using Him to obtain what you think will satisfy you. One will keep you faithful and true, never anxious for anything, and ever thankful because His presence is perpetual; the other will lead to bitterness and disillusionment because once you view God as a magic genie, there to give you whatever your heart desires, your heart will always desire more, never satisfied, never whole, never complete. It explains why people who’ve made their fortunes ten times over stroke out sitting at their desks in the middle of the night. Even though they have more money than they could ever spend on all the stuff they’re never going to need, they are driven to want more by the same heart that just gave up the ghost.

A wise man who can assign the appropriate value to the things in his life is rich beyond measure, whether he lives in a palace or a lean-to.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

No comments: