Breaking through to the Blessed Life
The Christian life is not free of suffering or pain, and I know many of you are going through some amazingly difficult times right now. I want to invite you to think about these struggles in a new way that will hopefully move you toward the blessed life you were meant to have and to take comfort in the fact that the God of the Universe sees you and cares deeply about you.
Take a look at James 1:2-4 and read this with me:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
If these verses are right (and they are), then God sends us trials, tribulations, and even temptations that will move us to a place where we are lacking in nothing. Sometimes we get stuck in our old ways, or we stop maturing in our faith. God, in His love and great mercy, is not content to just let us stay there. He does what it takes to try to get us unstuck and to keep us progressing forward in our faith. If we keep resisting what God is doing or insist on giving in to evil or unrighteous activity instead of pursuing goodness or righteousness, then God puts us through a boot camp type of training process to move us forward. Truly we should get excited about all the exercises, film study, and training for our new life, because that is God communicating with us that He wants something better for us.
The blessed life requires effort and training, perseverance and endurance, but we are too often like people who want the prize without putting in the sweat equity. We want to win Olympic medals but don't want to exercise the discipline or grow to get them. Many times troubles come and we give up too easily, when with endurance and perseverance we would be in such a different place spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
God gives us access to the blessed life as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, but then He asks us to partner with Him to embed blessing into our life. He gives us everything the blessed life is about. In fact, there is no part of the blessed life that is not given to us by the Lord! But we must partner with God in order to make it a reality in our lives. If we don't partner with Him to get it, then the blessed life sits like an unwrapped package in our closet.
James 1:2-4 is an amazing set of verses that we tend to roll past, because we already think we know what it says. But what it really says is that we should get excited about trials, temptations, and tests, because it is God training us and moving us to the next level of the blessed life - either in this life or the one to come.
Notice there is a sequential order in the progress toward blessing, which is described as "lacking in nothing." This process is happening with each trial, with each temptation, with each test.
Faith - begin by acknowledging and accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
Endurance - stay in the path of righteousness instead of giving into fleshly desires, the world's ways/wisdom, or the devil's schemes.
Maturity and completeness - the blessed life, where you are lacking in nothing as you move toward Christ-likeness.
Lacking in Nothing
To lack in nothing isn't referring to material goods or wealth, or any earthly possessions, but rather the godly character traits that God is moving us toward. If you are experiencing trials, tests, and temptations, consider what God may be doing in you to move you toward godliness and the blessed life. God is trying to get you ready for life in heaven during your time on earth, so what is currently missing from the kind of humility, meekness, and generosity that are required in heaven? These are what He will be developing in you through your times of trial in life.
The Blessed Life Questionnaire
I believe in dreaming and planning and actually envisioning how you want your life to be like. What if in five years you could experience the blessed life? What would it look like to you? Go through the ten basic relationships and answer these questions through the lens of "lacking in nothing."
What would your spiritual connection with God be like if you were lacking in nothing?
What would your personal development be like if you were lacking in nothing?
What would you be able to say no to?
What would you walk away from that you consistently give into?
What would you say yes to that you regularly turn away from?
What would you have accomplished?
What skills would you have developed or mastered?
What abilities would you have developed if you were lacking in nothing?
What obstacles would you have overcome if you were lacking in nothing?
What limiting ideas have you removed from your life if you were lacking in nothing?
What would your creative self do, develop, learn, express, cooperate in if you were lacking in nothing?
What would your marriage or dating relationships be like if you were lacking in nothing?
What would your family life be like if you were lacking in nothing?
What would Child A, B, C, etc. be like if he or she were lacking in nothing?
How would you interact with one another if you all were lacking in nothing?
What would your vocational life be like if you were lacking in nothing?
Where would you be working?
What would you be doing?
Who would you be working with?
What would your church be like if you were lacking in nothing? What would your relationship with your church look like if you were lacking in nothing? How and what spiritual gifts would you be using?
What would your finances be like if you were lacking in nothing?
How much would you receive in monthly or yearly income if you were to really be taking care of all the people, goals, protection, savings, generosity and personal issues you should?
What would your management of your financial life look like if you were really lacking in nothing?
What would your generosity look like if you were really lacking in nothing?
What would your main relationships be like? Describe each of them in detail.
Who would you have removed from your life if were truly lacking in nothing?
Who would you add to your life if you were truly lacking in nothing?
What would your contribution to society be?
How would you act towards ___________ if you were lacking in nothing?
My hope is that you'll unwrap the gift God has freely given you and move forward in faith toward the blessed life. I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in and through your life. Your greatest life is just ahead in 2017!
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Gil Stieglitz takes a walk through the Beatitudes to unveil the eight secrets to a deeply happy and blessed life. Many people think that the keys to happiness are money, power, prestige, popularity or pleasure, but true long-lasting happiness begins with God as He moves you and changes you from the inside out. We believe God wants our best even though we may not, so He enrolls us in life classes to develop the missing ingredients. Find out what they are and how to pass them to break through to your best life in Deep Happiness: The Eight Secrets. Visit our online store or go to Amazon.com. Your greatest life is just ahead!