In ongoing celebration of my Jubilee year of 50 years in ministry and 70 years of life, I am sharing some of the words of my life. Blessing has been one of the most transforming words in my life.
For many this is a trite saying, especially popular in the South, but just words with no real meaning.
I so disagree.
I think these are words of life: God bless you. Be blessed. Blessings to you. May you be blessed. I speak and write these gifts of blessing often. I have written and spoken on scattering blessings often. (Read here and here.)
Yesterday I led a time of praying for revival in the Cru Prayer Center—it’s a weekly gathering for a very special purpose.
As I was asking God what to share that would lead us into our praying, He reminded me of a chapter in John Ortberg’ book Soul Keeping: The Soul Needs Blessing. In this chapter John tells of learning from Dallas Willard that blessing is essential to the soul and how to bless.
“There are two great words in the Bible, Dallas said, that describe the posture of our souls toward other people. One is to bless. The other is to curse….Blessing is not just a word. Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. We must think it, feel it and will it….Blessing is done by the soul.”
Blessing and Revival
As I reread the entire chapter and let God remind me of the power of blessing—it is not just words, it is giving good to others—He gave me an insight into the relationship of blessing and revival.
The more I keep praying for revival, the more I grasp that it is about us—God’s children. We are the key to God’s willingness to send us His reviving Spirit for ourselves, our lands, our world.
One of the saddest realities today is that so many think, feel, say things like: “I would never be a Christian. Those Christians are so mean-spirited, critical, judgmental. They are against everything.”
What have we done to the perception of our Savior, who is love, peace, patience, joy, mercy, grace, faithfulness? He wants deeply to BLESS US! And every person.
We are His image to the world desperately needing Him. We reflect what He is like. God sent us out to reveal Himself. So perhaps we need to take a look at ourselves. Are we a true image of our amazing Lord?
What I sensed from God that one key to change that perception would be to become channels of His blessing.
How do we do that?
A simple start: Every morning ask God to use you to bless someone today.
Blessings can be spoken or written. They can be in a smile or a hug or looking someone in the eyes. They can be conveyed with a gift or a helping hard or an encouraging word. And they can be prayed.
I’ve been on a blessing journey for some time now—and I love it. Over just a day I might do one or two of these ways to bless, or even five or six. I am always looking for ways to bless—to will God’s good into people’s life. To ask Him to bless the people I love, the ones I talk with at the grocery store, the complete strangers on the street.
I forget. I get too busy. I’m distracted or in a bad mood. But God keeps growing me.
So what if God’s children everywhere took seriously God’s command to “Bless. Don’t curse. Even your enemies.” What if we became the arms and words of God’s blessing to everyone in our lives?
What would happen?
We would be changed. Our outlook on life, our recognition that God is God and God is good, our faith and hope would grow us into a clearer, truer reflection of our God.
God would be glorified. People would receive our blessings—and begin to understand the source of those blessings.
The people in our lives would be changed. They would be lifted, encouraged, loved, believed in, given hope—they would be blessed.
And just maybe our prayers of repentance and for revival, along with this lifestyle of blessing, would create in those who don’t yet know our Lord a yearning for Him, a recognition of their sin but also of the grace and mercy offered for that sin, a desire to live forgiven, cherished, loved—and blessed.
What about you? How could you begin a lifestyle of blessing?
C2015 Judy Douglass
Image: Field with Poppies by Vincent van Gogh