Monday, August 4, 2008

God's Love vs God's Blessings

We are traveling this week. It is always such an interesting thing to go to someone else's "home church" when you are out of town. It makes you really think about the church that you belong to: how visitors are greeted, how easily they are able to find their way around, what is meaningful to you in your services, etc. But what I absolutely love about it is that you get to catch a deeper glimpse of people that you know well in how they choose to worship and grow in Christ. It is always meaningful to me and starts a lot of great conversations.

The Lord spoke to my heart through the message as well. It was titled "Keys to the Kingdom" and the pastor, Dr. Ledford, mostly spoke on Jesus's conversation with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-23. He began by talking about how many Christians don't walk in the power and authority of their position as children of God. That many of us are trying to "pick the lock" instead of using the "keys" that God has given to us in order to walk with Him and have His blessing upon our lives. There were two parts of the message that spoke deeply to me.

The first was something that I had never given much thought. Verse 21 says, "Jesus looked at him and loved him..." It was no surprise to me that Jesus loved this man, but the point that the pastor made was powerful. I am paraprasing, but he essentially said that although Jesus loves each of us, it does not mean that he will pour out His blessings upon us. Jesus loved the rich young ruler, but this young man, "went away sad, because he had great wealth" instead of walking in obedience to what the Lord had asked for him to do-sell all of his earthly belongings and to follow Him. What blessings had the rich young ruler missed because he wasn't willing to walk away from his riches and walk with the Lord? When we do not walk in obedience to what the Lord is asking for us to do, He cannot bless us. It is similar to parenting. We cannot reward our children when they do not obey us. If we do, we are actually doing them a disservice by not training them properly.

I may be alone here, but I have had several times in my life where I wondered if the Lord really loved me because I wasn't feeling "blessed." I could see the hand of blessing on those around me
and I remember thinking that God must love them. Although I would be happy for others and their blessings, sometimes it left me feeling empty, unloved. I had often combined love and blessings in my mind. It seems like such a basic thing for me to have missed all these years, but it explained a lot to my heart.

May God richly bless you as you walk in obedience with Him!

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