Have you noticed the increased popularity of #Blessed across social media platforms?
Got a new car? #Blessed. Family vacation? #Blessed. Pumpkin spiced anything? #Blessed.
Celebrities have joined the bandwagon, too. I won’t mention any names. I’m sure you’ve seen them.
Of course, Christians use the word as well. We pray for God to bless our families and ministries. We attribute gifts as “God’s blessings.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of showing gratitude. But lately, I’ve gotten irked by the major misuse of a precious word, cheapening its immense implications.
Blessed is a Christian word. A deeply spiritual word rooted in Scripture. In fact, the word blessed originated from God Himself in Genesis 1:22 when He blessed the sea creatures and birds, telling them to be fruitful and multiply on the earth.
What does blessed truly mean?
I found a “Priestly Blessing” in my bible that helps us see the deeper meaning.
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:
‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you peace.’
Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27
A summary of the commentary in the New Living Translation states this:
A blessing was one way of asking for God’s divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in these verses helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do. (1) bless and protect them; (2) be pleased (smile on them); (3) be gracious to them; (4) give his favor and approval of them; (5) give peace.
When we ask God to bless others or ourselves, we are asking Him to do these five things. And when we say we have been blessed, we are acknowledging that God has done these things for us.
In the New Testament, the word blessed that Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount is from the Greek word makarios, which means to be happy or blissful. It also means a ‘self-contained happiness.’ It is self-contained because regardless of what is happening to us externally, we can be truly happy internally. Sounds great, right?
Do you remember the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount)? Jesus talks about those who will be blessed like this:
The Lord blesses the poor, those that mourn, the humble, those who hunger for righteousness, are merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, and persecuted for doing right.
Yikes! How do these things lead to happiness? The Beatitudes tell us one thing clearly.
We will never be truly happy with a bunch of stuff, living a self-centered life.
Eventually, we will crave something deeper. True happiness is found in an intimate relationship with our Creator. For only the One who created us, knows what will truly satisfy and bring us happiness.
God’s original design was for all creation, including human beings, to experience prosperity, happiness, peace, and fulfillment. That design was ruined when sin entered the world.
The good news is, God took care of that by sending His son Jesus.
Material blessings we enjoy are temporary, but the spiritual blessings Jesus speaks about in the Sermon on the Mount—the ones available to us in Christ, transcend time—they are eternal. When we give our lives to Jesus, we will have blessings in good times and in bad times. I don’t think I need to tell you this, but being a Christian does not guarantee life is going to be easy. Life is not easy for anyone. Not even the ones on social media that appear to have it all together.
However, sometimes during this roller coaster of life, I think we forget these words from Christ, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 emphasis mine)
Just last week, two people I know well went home to be with the Lord. One was Steve, the publisher of the local newspaper to which I contribute freelance articles. Another was a dear woman, Sandy from the weekly women’s Bible study I attend at my church.
I found myself in tears for the loved ones left behind—for myself. I’m familiar with grief. I still experience waves of grief over the deaths of my own precious loved ones. But one thing I know for sure. God’s promises are true. He most certainly comforts those who mourn. Yes, even in the midst of life’s darkest valleys, the Lord is with us, sometimes literally carrying us in His strong and capable arms. And one day, we will stand in His presence in Heaven and walk right into those arms—no more tears, no more troubles. But until that day, we have His constant presence and promises to help us grow.
Peace and happiness in all life’s situations, the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit to guide us, the love of our Creator, and eternal life in Heaven with Him?
Now that is #Blessed!
What are your thoughts? Do you have a prayer request? Let me know in the comments below.