Sometimes being a Jesus-follower takes us places we never thought. Years ago, I decided I’d avoid taking credit for the good stuff in my life. If I’m a fully surrendered Jesus-follower, then God’s bringing the outcomes. If it looks and feels good to me, then I’m ‘blessed.’ When my Heavenly Father chooses to make or allow an outcome to line up with my desire, I’m happy and grateful. Don’t ever let me take credit for making something good happen. It’s always Him. And my response should be humble gratitude.
Then I learned that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. The ‘blessings’ I didn’t get turned out to be better than the ones I thought I wanted. So I got more cautious about declaring His ‘blessing’ too soon. If it leads me to Him . . . to ultimate dependence on Him . . . if it brings God and I together, it will lead ultimately lead to ‘blessing.’ And besides, it’s a ‘check’ on my pride. As long as I’m deflecting the credit for good stuff to my loving Father, then I’m not getting confused about my righteousness. Not thinking it’s me bringing good stuff to me.
But recently, a friend went off on the word ‘blessed.’ “Nothing sounds so self-righteous,” he says. First, he talked about the hypocrisy he sees in the life of the person running around talking about his special ‘blessed’ status. And secondly, he sees other friends living out a much more consistent ‘walk’ who aren’t being ‘blessed.’ How does that work?
My wife was in a Christian bookstore once and overheard a conversation where a customer had found a rare book she was looking for. “You’re really lucky,” said the store clerk. Out of the blue, a bystander chimed in, “No good Christian would ever say that! You’re leaving God out altogether.” Taken aback, Miriam didn’t say anything. The question lingers. Blessed or lucky? If one is ‘reformed’ enough in his or her theology, events do seem to unfold in a random sort of way. What seems to be a blessing turns out worse in the longer term. But then what looks like bad luck becomes a source of joy for years and years.
Ultimately, we must choose our own words and find peace in them. More importantly, we must choose how we tell the story of our lives to ourselves each day. To me, ‘lucky’ says random. It infers a ‘God-less’ environment where things happen without purpose or meaning ‘Blessed’ says I believe there’s a ‘Bless-er’ and regardless of whether He’s giving me what I want, He’s there with me and for me. God is the author of my story . . . every little detail, every relationship. I get to choose how to use every opportunity to bless others with my eyes, expressions, generosity, time, concern and attention. Or . . . to make them feel lucky they ran into me.
In the end, know that when others hear us say ‘blessed’ or ‘lucky’ or whatever we say, they’ll look at our hearts and decide if our intent is humility or pride. I want to live from a grateful heart so I’m going to keep saying “I’m blessed” and pray my heart stays gentle and humble enough to back it up.
Luke 6:45 – The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.