“How do you think people can live a blessed life?” I asked my eight-year-old daughter one night as I prepared to write this piece. Without missing a beat, she told me: “Believe in Jesus and give to the poor.” Wow. Talk about a children’s ministry mic drop.
I considered this, humbled by the easy truth of it, but like all of God’s truth, there is so much more waiting for us when we delve deeper into the Word. What did Jesus and the prophets of old have to say about being #blessed—this modern catchphrase that the church and the world toss around and crave?
This seemed like a topic too vast and unapproachable for a small-town mom and part-time writer. I was having a Moses moment before I began, consumed with the enormity of my task but excited to share what I realized God had been showing me through his Word in preparation.
As we got ready for bed later that night, God answered this question again from between the swirly pink covers of my daughter’s devotion book. I’m not surprised it was a verse from Romans (4:8 to be exact). The verse this entire piece hinges on. That’s just how our Father works. From the God’s princess devotional to the throne room of heaven.
I began to think maybe this question isn’t as complex as it seems. But maybe in its simplicity there is also a lifetime of intricate truths to uncover as we pursue living blessed.
Jesus seems to be telling us that living a blessed life isn’t really about getting but about being.
What does it mean to be blessed?
Scripture tells us what it means to be blessed over two hundred times. Throughout the Bible, the word is used to describe a time when God bestows His favor through a variety of circumstances and purposes. It started in Genesis when God blessed Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28). Being blessed is something God intended for mankind from the beginning. Sin distorted that blessing.
I like the way Precept Austin defines the Hebrew word for blessing (berakah) as something that brings prosperity and life. It echoes Paul’s defense of the Gentiles in Romans 4:7-8: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Paul is quoting Psalm 32:1 to argue that Gentiles also receive this blessing of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus. He wants to make it clear that God’s blessing and the blessing of Abraham are for all people—that anyone can be blessed by God and become His.
The ways Jesus describes being blessed also show us how to live in a way that brings prosperity and life. In the beatitudes (which means “the blessings” by the way), Jesus lists the blessed by naming characteristics that represent His heavenly kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12). Things that don’t neatly fit the trendy hashtag. People whose life situations seem far from a blessing: those who mourn, are meek, persecuted, and poor in spirit.
For each blessed one Jesus names, He also announces a spiritual blessing which far outweighs the earthly circumstances. These blessings include inheriting the earth, receiving mercy, and being called sons of God. Gifts from our Heavenly Father. The one that speaks to my soul is Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Oh, how I want a pure heart so I can see my Creator clearly.
Reading what Jesus calls blessed reveals Our Father’s heart for us. A deep well of blessings to quench our thirsty soul.
How to Live a Blessed Life
I’ve always thought that “blessed” was a spiritual substitute for “lucky,” meaning the good things in my life don’t happen by chance. Which is true. My God who made the heavens and earth still brings good things into my life from the rain that revived my plants, to the new baby girl I never thought I could love so fiercely so fast.
I feel more blessed right now and grateful for what I have than ever before in my life. I’ve been able to tell my husband that I’m content with our lot. But am I basing my blessings on material contentment or on the joy and promises of God? Would I still be able to say this if our finances were in shambles and sickness ran rampant in our family?
Jesus seems to be telling us that living a blessed life isn’t really about getting but about being. We are blessed when we are like Him—like the kingdom He describes in the beatitudes. This upside-down kingdom that Paul so eagerly proclaimed in Acts and his letter to the Roman church.
The answer to the question “How can I live a blessed life?” doesn’t come from a neatly numbered spiritual living bestseller. Being blessed is a perspective, a mindset of joy despite the circumstances. It’s the pursuit of the knowledge and understanding of God’s grace. A fierce resolve to seek His kingdom, His Word, His truth despite the temptations of “blessing” from the world.
Being blessed is more than a gift of material prosperity. It’s a state of being inextricably linked with a deeper connection to the one true God and all that He is. Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
You can live a blessed life by pursuing Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
You can live a blessed life by being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer (James 1:22).
You can live a blessed life by contemplating the lavishness of God’s grace (Romans 4:8).
This is what the Word says. But definitely not what the world tells us. My heart struggles with disconnecting my blessings from physical circumstances—especially when times are good. The truth is if I’m in Christ, I’m already living a blessed life. It’s when I recognize that living blessed isn’t something I have to work for, buy, achieve, fulfill, socially share or live up to that I can truly feel and understand this blessing.
When I pursue the Scriptures and find sufficiency in Christ, I realize the depth of God’s blessing. But I have to fight for it. I have to pursue this blessing daily or I’ll forget that I have it and get too comfortable in my surroundings to experience the deep, heart joy of being blessed in Christ.
Want to know how to lead a blessed life? God has woven His answer throughout Scripture. Lean in and listen. Breathe in His words and feel warmed and comforted as a child of God. Because that’s where His blessings begin. And for those in Christ, they never ever end.
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