The 5 Purposes for God’s Blessing

Blessing

Blessing is a frequently used but seldom understood word. Today, we explore five purposes for God’s blessing. What does it mean to be blessed and what is the significance of blessing? We may sing hymns reminding us to count our blessings, or pray, asking God to bless and meet the needs of our family and friends.

In North America, we naturally acquaint blessing with the “extra” things in life: a beautiful home, a flourishing career, a new car (or at least one that gets you from point A to point B), or increased finances. Although being blessed may include these things it encompasses so much more than material possession.

Lately, God has slowed my pace, giving me opportunity to count my blessings and weigh the impact of blessing on me and others. I easily remember not-so-distant times of tight budgets and seasons of waiting for God’s provision or protection. Recently, however, I’m overwhelmed by His blessings — a peaceful and warm home, loving family, a thriving church community, authentic friendships, enjoyable work, good health, and so much more. What money could never buy, God’s blessing provides.

Food

“Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration. How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness you’ve done for me?”
Psalm 103:2 TPT

Whether God’s blessing measures in mini or maxi “miracles of kindness,” celebration forms the only fitting response. There is purpose in all God’s blessing.

1. To Provide

The Hebrew word barak means “to bless, cause to kneel, or greet,” suggesting the bending of the knee to receive a blessing. We find a similar Greek word eulogeo in the New Testament meaning “to bless or speak well of.”

The Abrahamic blessing says,

I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:2-3

Stone House

The pictographic translation of bless portrays the prince who comes out of the house.

Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, fulfilled this picture of bless in the completest sense of the word. The Son of God, the Holy Prince of Heaven, came from His “house” to pay for the sin that kept us from the Father, bestowing ultimate blessing on humanity. Jesus became a curse so that we might receive God’s blessing now and forever.

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Romans 4:7-8

2. To Reach Generations

When Abraham’s son Isaac blessed Jacob, his son, we discover the generational aspect of blessing. God intends for His blessing to result in prosperity and success to be transferred to future generations. The word prosper literally means “to help along the road or to succeed in reaching.” Isn’t that what we all want for our children and our children’s children?

“May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.”
Genesis 28:3

In Deuteronomy 28, we see clearly how God’s blessing produces promotion, fruitfulness, triumph over enemies, holiness, and “abundant prosperity.” (vs 1-14) Those aren’t my words, they’re His. Blessing and helping people along the road to succeed go hand in hand.

Child walking

To receive these blessings requires obedience to God, however. Salvation is freely given through Jesus Christ, but the blessing of God spills over only through obedience.

The extended meaning of barak, to bless, implies the giving of something of value to another who kneels out of respect. As we “kneel” in obedient submission to God, He provides for our needs in every dimension of life. In the Bible, the greater blesses the lesser. He is Master. We are to be His obedient servants.

3. To Achieve God’s Design

Scholars point to the importance of the first occurrence of a word found in the Bible. On the fifth day of creation, God blesses the fish and birds to be fruitful and increase. (Gen1:22)

On the sixth day, after creating Adam and Eve, God blesses them as well.

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the seas, and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ “
Genesis 1:28

Through blessing, God releases divine purpose over humanity to produce and have dominion — increasing and managing creation well. Through God’s blessing, we achieve His full purposes for us.

Relax with Coffee

The blessing of God attracts other people, causing them to wonder in amazement. God’s grace convinces people of how wonderful He is, leading them to acknowledge and believe in Him. (Rom 2:4)

“God blesses us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].”
Psalm 67:7

Awe, reverence, and wonder follow God’s blessing.

4. To Cover

God commanded the priests, Aaron and his descendants, to speak this familiar blessing over the people:

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

Though many Christians might easily recite this portion, the following verse appears unfamiliar. Today, it caused me to pause and consider.

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Numbers 6:27

What a powerful statement! Invoking a blessing in the name of the LORD releases everything His name represents, like a divine covering over those being blessed. The LORD, Yahweh, identifies God as One who loves righteousness and hates sin. All those under His blessing and bearing His name also love what He loves and hate what He hates. The LORD, our God, loves to bless!

Country Church

Though this specifically speaks of Israelites, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that all who believe in Jesus and receive Him are of Israel. (Rom 9:6-8)

A blessing spoken in His name both covers and imparts.

5. To Share

God’s blessing comes both in earthly and heavenly form, with both earthly and heavenly function. Not everyone experiences the tangible blessings of God here and now, but with certainty, we everyone will throughout eternity.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Ephesians 1:3

As wonderful and appreciative as we may be with our earthly blessings, nothing compares to those that await every believer. Whether we see it or not, “Jesus Christ . . . has blessed us!” Past tense! He has already made every spiritual blessings ours.

As Christians, Jesus calls us to be a source of His blessing to the world, especially to those who treat us unfairly or cruelly. No one merits God’s favor and grace, yet He pours it upon us. As freely as we have received, God asks us to give to others — even the most undeserving.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Luke 6:27-28

Family

God blesses so that we will be His hand of blessing to others. Whether we feel like there is overflow in our lives or not, God calls us to look with grace and mercy on others, blessing through words, actions, and material possessions.

Count Your Blessings

As we bless others, God entrusts us with greater and greater blessings ourselves. He knows who the clear channels of His blessing are and desires to use us to extend blessing to others.

I find that when I begin to count my blessings, my attitude toward God and others begins to shift and soften. Gratitude opens my heart and hand to count those whom God longs for me to bless as part of His blessing.

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Speak Blessing, not Cursing! Love is a Verb!

Paul boldly challenges the Roman Church, and us, to “speak blessing, not cursing.” All of us, from every generation, need the reminder that love without action is not love at all. Love is a verb!

Though many themes ebb and flow through his writing to the Roman church, personally none pierces my heart more than the theme of grace. The study of this epistle a few years ago reformed my thinking and rearranged my heart to love in a new way.

Love is a verb, not a thought or emotional response.  As a new Christian, I prayed, “Lord teach me to love.” I knew as clearly then, as I do now, that love requires a breaking of my self-centered, self-righteous, independent motivations. God alone gives the ability to love in a genuine, transforming way.

Grace and love flow outward to the deserving and undeserving.

Mankind prefers rather to

crush and control,
condemn and judge,
manipulate and intimidate,
strong over the weak,
healthy over the sick,
wealthy over the poor.

This ungodly propensity exists in every culture — Christian and non-Christian. Paul calls for an intentional turn-around in these natural tendencies, no matter how justified we may feel.

Transformation

Transformation starts from the inside infiltrating attitudes, words and actions. Paul sets the defining tone of love and grace in action.

“Let the inner movement of your heart
always be to love one another,
and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask.
Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.
Be devoted to tenderly loving your
fellow believers as members of one family.
Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.”
Romans 12:9-10

“Lord, teach me to love,” remains a key prayer decades later. Why? Love is tough!

I once read Neigel Bigpond’s story:

“My mother was sick in the hospital, and I went to visit her one day. When she opened her eyes, she looked at me and said, “Nin-zo-de-tow-yoot.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It means I love you,” she replied.

“I love you, too.”

My mother responded, “No son, you don’t understand. Our Yuchi word for “I love you” is not like English… “Nin-zo-de-tow-yoot” means, “You are like a river that brings me life, and without you I cannot exist.”

That’s loving like God. Surrendering to Him so completely that others “are like a river that brings life and without them we know we cannot exist.” Quite frankly, God is asking for the impossible.

The Key

God knows I can’t! I know it, too! So He gave us the key to loving fully.

” Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord,
keeping your passion toward him boiling hot!
Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and
let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.”
Romans 12:11

Love comes from God through the Holy Spirit. God is love — strong, unmasked, raw, pure. Only in passionate, “boiling hot,” relationship with Him will that love be evident in any of us. The dissipating of love in any dimension should drive us to our knees, “Lord, set us ablaze! Holy Spirit burn in us!”

Love is a verb! Active and powerful!

Circle of Love

Paul identifies the elements found within the larger sphere of love.

“Let this hope burst forth within you,
releasing a continual joy.
Don’t give up in a time of trouble,
but commune with God at all times.
Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people
and respond by helping them.
And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home.”
Romans 12:12-13

Another version says, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” Love hangs in there faithfully praying. At the same time, a season of withdrawing from gross dysfunction or severe abuse may be absolutely necessary.

I have helped people recede from unhealthy relationships, giving individuals time to regain personal health and wholeness. The goal of the separation isn’t to harm, but rather to restore.

Unbroken fellowship with God remains essential for individual and corporate relational health. In Him, we regain godly perspective and the ability to love genuinely and radically.

“Freedom is not the license to do whatever we want;
freedom is the choice to love.”
– Danny Silk

Love is a Blessing

I cannot imagine a life without love — either the pure joy of loving others or experiencing being known and loved. Love is a blessing, a grace gift from heaven.

“Speak blessing, not cursing,
over those who reject and persecute you.”
Romans 12:14

The things that come from our mouths disclose the reality within our hearts. When communication becomes judgmental and negative, we can be sure we have a serious heart condition.

Words are indicators and predictors!

The words of our mouth create the highway of our future — whether the way of blessing or cursing.

When David became an object of cursing and scorn, he appealed to God for help and strength. He gives a warning to his mockers.

“He wore cursing as his garment;
it entered into his body like water,
into his bones like oil.”
Psalm 109:18

Negative talk about others deeply affects our own health — spiritually and physically, individually and corporately. How important to speak blessing!

Bless Actively

Just like love is a verb, so is blessing. Blessing goes far beyond the words of our mouths spilling out through active care for others. Paul lays down concrete ways to demonstrate a heart that releases blessing.

Celebrate with those who celebrate,
and weep with those who grieve.
Live happily together in a spirit of harmony,
and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own.
Don’t live with a lofty mind-set,
thinking you are too important to serve others
but be willing to do menial tasks and
identify with those who are humble minded.”
Romans 12:15-16

Paul calls for a sensitivity, wisdom and humility to mark our relationships. Every word challenges me! Every action is to be focused on the needs of others:

promoting others when we would rather be promoted,
serving from a state of fatigue and personal need,
setting aside personal agendas to elevate those around us.

Love is a verb – selfless and fearless!

Conquering Love

Love conquers with blessing. God’s instruction through Paul becomes even more difficult:

“Never hold a grudge or try to get even,
but plan your life around the noblest way to benefit others.
Do your best to live as everybody’s friend
If your enemy is hungry, buy him lunch!…
Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good.”
Romans 12:17-21

This is where I often feel overwhelmed. I hear within these lines a call to Christian extremism showing extreme love and compassion to our most oppressive enemies and most aggressive persecutors.

“Through the power of Christ’s blood,
we can exchange such things as curses for blessings;
guilt for purity; sickness for health;
lack for provision; sorrow for joy;
slavery for freedom; and death for eternal life.”
– C. & R. Wagner

How? In Christ and Christ alone! Unless the fire of Holy Spirit burns intensely within us, we will miss this incredible opportunity to live, love and bless. “Set us ablaze, Lord, and start with me.”