How many times a day are we encouraged to think about ourselves? It depends on the day, right? If you fill your day with social media, news, television, ungodly friendships, and those tempting magazines in the grocery checkout lanes—then your answer is going to be much higher.
But if you fill your day with God’s Word, godly friendships, prayer, thankfulness, and Christ-like influences then your answer (I hope), will be much lower, as you barricade your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
The Bible does not encourage loving yourself more, but loving God more. Romans 2:8 says, “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Concerning to say the least, yet 1 Timothy 5:6 has even more to say, “But she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.”
Self-centered thinking does not lead us to God, and therefore, such a lifestyle will not give us the fulfillment we are seeking. Instead, it’s those who love the LORD with all their heart, soul, and might who will know true joy. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
And I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want—fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment, joy. Which unfortunately isn’t found in following my own preconceived ways of happiness (like having a maid and cook and nanny and weekly massages and trips to warm climates). Blessing and fulfillment and joy are found in following God’s ways which, praise the LORD, He has graciously laid out for us in the Scriptures.
God’s Way to Blessing, Fulfillment, and Joy
Love the Word of God
The pathway to blessing in this life begins with the Word of God. Without it we will not know God, and apart from knowing God, we will not know the truest fulfillment of our souls. To make the Word of God our delight, allowing each verse to be our counselor (Ps. 119:24), is to swing wide the door of blessing.
Yet there’s an active enemy who’s dead set on deceiving us. He’s set on twisting the truth just enough to steer us in the wrong direction and push us off course by getting us to think more about ourselves than God, to consider what we want more than what God wants, to pursue our happiness more than our holiness, and to trust more in ourselves than in God.
This makes it vital that we set up a daily line of defense against the devil’s schemes, which has nothing to do with having Alexa on standby or Siri on the hunt for the closest Chick-fil-a. Our weapons of warfare are spiritual, beginning with God’s Word. If we aren’t set in the truth, we’ll surrender to deception, even if it is unknowingly.
But it’s not just reading God’s Word that will give us the kind of barricade we need. It’s ingesting it, as food for the soul that offers stamina, in order to breathe it out in both the mundane and the mania, the victories and the voyages, the unexpected and the expected of life. It’s soaking our souls with God’s testimony of faithfulness that offers the blessing of hope and peace in any and every situation.
Be Thankful Always
’Tis the season of thanksgiving, and we know we need to be thankful, but do we realize the impact an attitude of thanksgiving can have on not only us but others? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
God requires thanksgiving in all circumstances because it’s thanksgiving that leads to a proper perspective. And perspective gives way to praise, praise allows for humility, humility extends to obedience, and obedience leads to blessing.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! (Ps. 128:1)
But it starts with being thankful—appreciating the life we have in Christ, not because of anything we have done in and of ourselves, but because of God’s own purpose and grace (2 Tim. 1:9).
Pray at All Times
Much like thankfulness, prayer is to be a continuous and ongoing way of life for the believer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 urges us to “pray without ceasing,” not to keep us busy, but because there is so much blessing to be had as we seek the Father through Jesus Christ—not for what we want, but for the things of God: the fruit of the Spirit and the will of God in our lives.
Prayer isn’t for the purpose of getting what we want, but for aligning our hearts with what God wants. It’s not intended as a method of self-seeking but for God-seeking. Yet how many of us use it for self-seeking? (I just raised my hand.) My friend, to experience the blessing of God in this life through prayer is to pray God’s will be done, just as Jesus tells us in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:10).
Because here’s the thing, begging God for my own will is not only dangerous, but frustrating, especially when God in His goodness says “no.” But asking God for His perfect will to be done is not only safe for our souls, but also reassuring, as we experience God’s faithful “yes.”
Remember Your Purpose
Let’s be honest, there are seasons of life when we don’t feel useful and our efforts for God’s kingdom appear to be unused or unseen, and the tug to just go and do our own thing increases. But the pathway to blessing in this life includes steadfast obedience to God, no matter our limited perspective. And what’s helpful in that obedience is to remember our purpose.
Titus 2:14 says Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” God hasn’t saved us so we can live however we want and still go to heaven; God has saved us so we can bring glory to Him by bearing fruit (Rom. 7:4).
The believer’s purpose is to bring glory to God through our words and works, so that others might see God in us and come to saving faith in Christ as well. And when we seek to live out that purpose, no matter how bumpy the road, there is blessing to be had in this life and the next.
Worship the LORD Your God
I can’t stress this one enough. Worship is not just a mandate—it’s a rescue plan put in place by God for our benefit. If I’m unsure or stuck or down, it’s worship that rights my perspective, setting me back on a path of trust and reliance on God.
God deserves our worship. There’s no doubt about that. Psalm 117 has only two verses, stating,
Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
We are created in the image of God with a soul designed to worship God, so there is joy and satisfaction in true worship. It’s not only the gatekeeper of a faith-filled heart, but it’s an avenue of great blessing.
There is a pathway to guaranteed blessing in this life, but it may not look like we think, and we certainly don’t get there by seeking our own design. Instead, it’s available to us through God, “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
Seek the LORD, my friend, through His Word and thanksgiving and prayer and purpose and a heart set on praise, so that you may know and experience the great blessing of living this life for God.