Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taken, Blessed, Broken, Given Part 2

This is the second post in a four part series. Part 1 is here.

In Life of the Beloved, Henri Nouwen writes of four words that helped him identify the movements of the Spirit in his life. In the first post I looked at the idea that we are taken by the Father. Today, we'll look at the concept of being blessed.

As those who are beloved of the Father and chosen by him, we are blessed. We are not only blessed in the sense of having our sins forgiven and being at peace with God, but we are also blessed in the sense that God says good, true things about us. Our Father tells us that we are his beloved children, that we are adopted into his family and have all the benefits of heirs. We are in Christ, therefore we are co-heirs with Jesus. God tells us that he will always take care of us, that we can trust him to do nothing but good. While that good may not look wonderful to our eyes, we can know that it is truly good.

In a world that is full of curses and lies, we need to hear the truth that we are blessed. First, we need to hear from our Father. We do this by prayer. Not just talking to God, but also listening to him. It is hard to tune out the noise of the world around us and the lies whispered to us by our Enemy. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between the voice of the thief who can disguise himself as an angel of light, and the true Shepherd who gave his life that we might live life to the full. Being still and learning to hear the Shepherd's voice is vital in our walk with him. Whether it's a few minutes here and there, an hour or a day, we need to carve out time where we simply are still so we can know that he is God.

Another way we can hear the blessing from the Father is to cultivate presence. We normally go through our day-to-day with tunnel vision and miss the many blessings Abba brings our way. Some of those come directly from heaven, some come through other people. When we realize those blessings, we need to receive them and show gratitude. Sometimes receiving blessing from another is humbling. It forces us to recognize that we really do need each other. Unfortunately, this is as true in the church as in the outside world. We want to appear strong and able, so we tend to pooh pooh times that someone has met our needs and forget that we have been truly blessed. Many times, the simple presence of someone in our lives is a blessing that we miss.

Through these two ways we recognize and claim our blessedness. We are not blessed just for our sake though. The Father blesses us so that we will bless others. Claiming our blessing will give us a desire to bless those we come in contact with each day, from the brother or sister who needs help, to the cashier at the grocery store who is tired at the end of the shift. In a world that is full of curses and lies, people hunger for blessing whether we realize it or not. Jesus commanded us to love others as he loved us. As we are forgiven, we are to forgive. As we are shown grace, we are to show grace. As we are blessed, we are to bless.

We can only bless others as we tune out the noise of the darkness and listen to the voice of our Father and claim our blessedness. Then, as Nouwen states,

"...we can face our own and others' brokenness with open eyes."

That's a topic for another time.

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