I want to be blessed. I desire God’s favor upon my life. I don’t think that is a shameful desire in any way, and I believe God planted that desire in me.
But I have the hardest time figuring out how to get that blessing. A lot of the time I feel like I can earn it. Like maybe if I just do enough good things, God will grant me happiness and blessings. If I honor Him enough with my relationships, then maybe He’ll bless my relationships. If I do enough in my ministry, then maybe He’ll bless my ministry. If I seek him more and more, then maybe He’ll favor me.
Then there’s this passage in the book of Psalms that I can’t overlook.
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel. (Psalm 89:15-18)
God, I want that to be me.
How do you learn to acclaim God? How do you walk in the light of His presence?
If this is what makes His children blessed, then I feel like these questions are worth finding an answer to.
I’ll just say here and now, though, that I don’t have the full answers.
What I know right now is this:
- Acclaiming God means to praise God
- Walking into the light implies walking out of darkness
Somehow we have to learn to praise God. Somehow we have to walk out of darkness and into His light.
Here’s what else I know:
- I have learned to praise God most through my difficulties and pain. I have learned to praise God in joyous times, as well. But it’s the dark times in my life and the overcoming of that darkness that has taught me what truly worshiping God and surrendering to God means.
- I have walked into the light most when I have finally bared my soul and let the darkness go. Not just to God, but to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I can walk in His light by releasing my innermost secrets and desires to God. But I have experienced many moments of shame-lifting, freeing intimacy with people, too. I have found light by first going through the darkest tunnels, whether hand-in-hand with a friend or alone with just the Spirit in my heart.
What I’m thinking is that perhaps blessings must come through difficulties and pain, through the hard stuff of life.
It takes trials to remind you of how powerful He is. It takes rock bottom to remind you that He is what you really need. Through our difficulties and pain we learn to acclaim and praise God.
It takes darkness to remind you that you need light. It takes painful soul-baring moments and conversations to assure you that you are not alone and living in light is a very real, freeing possibility. Through our difficulties and pain we learn to walk in His light.
First comes pain. Then comes gain.
Isn’t that a major concept of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount? The Beatitudes, anyone?
Amidst the hard stuff of life, we receive blessing.
And what is this blessing we receive?
Maybe it’s the next part of that passage. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord…
The blessings are:
- joy in His name
- celebration for His righteousness
- glory and strength of God
- our horn (our power and strength)
- our shield (our protection)
It all just sounds so wonderful. I can’t even comprehend what fully receiving those blessings would look like because here on earth everything just seems so pitiful compared to the beauty and glory in heaven.
The joy we feel now is not even close to the joy in heaven. The celebrations we have here are nothing like the celebrations in His kingdom. The glory and strength of God can only be glimpsed so much through our tiny human eyes and brains. And the horn and shield, Him being our power and protection, is a whole other concept I think we are far from fully comprehending.
These blessings of God are being unlocked here. I do know this to be true.
But there’s so much more we have yet to uncover. There’s still more praising and walking in light to be done.
And hard stuff must come.
So let’s get ready. Expect the suffering and the blessing because they’re both coming.
What common task could I start doing as if I were doing it directly for Jesus?
I read this question in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and it really stuck out to me because truthfully, there are many things that come to mind concerning that question.
Most of us are familiar with the verse, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23).
But let me ask you, have you ever tried applying this to your life? Be honest with yourself.
You can’t think of many good examples, can you? Believe me, a lot of us can’t.
Below is an excerpt from this book, thoughts on living a life of worship.
“Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life. Worship is not just for church services. We are told to ‘worship him continually’ and to ‘praise him from sunrise to sunset.’ In the Bible people praised God at work, at home, in battle, in jail, and even in bed! Praise should be the first activity when you open your eyes in the morning and the last activity when you close them at night. David said, ‘I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise him.’
Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God…
This is the secret to a lifestyle of worship- doing everything as if you were doing it for Jesus. The Message paraphrase says, ‘Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.’ Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.”
God wants us to work with praise and cheerfulness, as if our everyday living is meant for Him and Him only. Which it should be. When we start to replace our laziness, our bad attitudes, and our grumbling with an eager desire to be in His presence and worship Him with our lives, our outlook and perspective on work and everyday activities will drastically change. Instead of working for money, instead of working for personal satisfaction, instead of working for other peoples’ satisfactions, we need to work for God.
This is something I definitely need to work on and with the power of Christ, I know I’ll be able to find an answer to these questions soon. I need to trade in my life for His and just trust. Trust that our lives of worship are never in vain. We experience our greatest satisfaction when we are fulfilling our purpose of worshiping and loving God with our lives. Worship is not a part of our lives, it is our life.