How to Recieve God's Blessing
How to Recieve God’s Blessing
When we look at people around the world, you notice that there are different cultures in different places. Cultures are a declaration of identity or who a group of people are.
Culture tells us a whole variety of things. Culture tells us a lot about how people think and what they value in their life. Culture comes about through looking at our history which tells us where we have come from.
Just think about your own family. Think about your nationality. Think about who you are. Culture says something about where we come from and is about our habits. Think about your personal habits. Different nationalities and families have different habits and ways of doing things.
Culture is about what we hold to be true. We say this is truth to us, and truth can be different depending on the culture, the family, or the person that you are.
Culture is built through what happens over time. It can be built through our celebrations as well as the tragedies and challenges that come along.
Culture is also built through hidden things that we don’t see, the subconscious things. My father was someone of great discipline. When we were growing up, my dad used to say to me and my four brothers that when we used the toothpaste you squeezed the toothpaste from the bottom. Throughout our lives if you happened to squeeze the tube anywhere else, he would take you aside and say, “Son, that’s not the way you squeeze the toothpaste.” So, from being young, I came to understand that this was the way to use toothpaste.
In my early twenties I marry a girl named Rosemary, whose family didn’t squeeze toothpaste like that. I remember it well! When we got up the day after our wedding, Rosemary goes to clean her teeth and what does she do? She doesn’t squeeze the tube from the bottom, and she squeezes it from the middle. What I realize is that she hasn’t had my dad, so I took her aside and said, “Well, this is not the way you use a toothpaste tube.” Then she laughs at me and says, “That’s not important.” And I said to her, “But it is because this is who I am and this is the way I’ve been raised.”
Culture affects our thinking, our habits, and who we are. Culture affects all sorts of things we do, and it expresses itself in what we call customs or the specific way that we do it.
I have five children and if I go to any of their homes, I notice they have begun to create their own customs coming out of their own sense of culture and their own families who do things differently. Sometimes that difference can be disturbing because you can think they aren’t doing things my way, or the right way, but who is to say?
Culture holds values but culture also is an expression of our identity. We are going to read a story from St. Paul. Paul is a man of God who has proclaimed the Gospel all over the world and he is writing to a young man named Timothy who is a young gun himself and a very enthusiastic preacher. Paul writes to Timothy from central Rome and Paul is not far away from his execution. This is the very last thing he writes to Timothy found in 2 Timothy 3:10-17:
Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
Paul speaks here out of the personal culture and customs that have accrued in his life since he came to Christ. Paul says if you look at my life you will see that it is loaded with habits, convictions, values, and ways of being because I have been a follower of Christ. Paul says to Timothy, ‘Just look at me.’
Sometimes I find that Scripture very challenging. How many of you walk around as a Christian believer, and say to your family or friends, people at work or meet in other settings and say to them, “I’m a Christian. Just look at my life. Just look at me.” In the current world many of us just wouldn’t do that. Would you do it? But Paul turns around and says, “Look at me and do what I did and remember that I taught you.” Where did Paul get it from? He says, “I got it from Scripture because Scripture is the word of God that comes to us.” What Paul is saying is his personal culture, habits, and way of being is to follow Christ in all things.
Paul is saying to young Timothy, look at me:
Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul knew that he was going to die soon so he turned Timothy towards the Scriptures.
He said, ‘I’m not going to be here anymore. Remember the Scriptures that you’ve always had, right?’
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
Paul is saying “I am leaving, and these are my last words to you.” Have you ever wondered what you would say to your children or your grandchildren if you were about to die? Would you be able to say what Paul says, “Think back over my life, remember what I’ve told you and look to God?”
The Bible uses a phrase, ‘being righteous.’ What is righteous? Righteous is to be in right standing before God. To be righteous is be to be in a place when we can stop and say, ‘I’m the person I’m meant to be. I’m living the way I’m meant to live.’ The word righteous is in the Bible 558 times. It says in the Bible, be righteous, be the man or woman that you are called to be. Be all that you can be.
In 2 Timothy 3:16 it says,
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching for a proof, for correction and for training in righteousness.
In other words, train to be the man or woman that God called you to be because there is an image of who you are meant to be that was given by God himself. In Romans 6:18, it says this:
And that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Paul was able to say, ‘I’ve lived righteous. I’ve lived according to the values, and the encounter I’ve had with God, and I’ve been blessed.
On the sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:6, Jesus says:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Righteousness is right living according to what God has revealed to you and that will be different for each of you. God blesses us when we stand up and are the man or woman that God calls us to be in the place we are called to be.
How do we learn to live righteously in such a way that we are blessed so by the end of our lives we can be like Paul and say, ‘I am who God called me to be?’
The thing that I’ve learned is that we learn to live our values through repetition. What makes us righteous is repeating the same things over and over so that they become entrenched within us.
One of the things I’ve said to many people is to make sure you pray every day. Don’t miss. Every day, acknowledge God. Every day, talk to God. Every day, encounter God so that habits are built in our life. When we don’t repeat the things, we know that we should do, we fall short of who we should be in our life.
We have to remember who we are. We have to look in the mirror and we have to say, I’m John or I’m Mary. I’m a child of God. I was made by God, and He loves me. My life has purpose. I have purpose now whether I’m older or younger. When we remember who we are called to be, when we remember who we want to be, when we remember the values that we hold onto, it gives us the ability to say no to things that would take us away being righteous before God in our life.
The other thing that I’ve found is that when I repeat the same things over and over, when I begin to remember who God has called me to be that it reignites the fire in me to say, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s who I’m going to be.
The other thing I’ve learned about living righteously is that repentance becomes our friend. What does repentance mean? Repentance means I’ve got to change. It isn’t hard for bad habits to slip into our life where we begin to do things or think about things or where we begin to compromise in our lives. It doesn’t take much for us to become less than who we were called to be. Repentance means to change back to who God called you to be.
When you begin to be who God calls you to be, because of your encounter with God, you can’t help but stop and recruit people to be with you on the journey. As a Christian, can you recruit people by your life? Paul says, “Don’t give up Timothy. My days are coming to an end, and they are about to execute me. They’re about to kill me, but not you.”
If you want to be blessed today, if you want to experience the blessing of God, ask yourself the question, are you righteous before God? In other words, are you living according to the person that God called you to be? Are their customs that come from the very fabric of your culture in your personal life? Are you happy with who you are? Could you come before God today and say, ‘God, I’m the man or woman that you called me to be?’ If the answer is yes, fantastic, but if you are anything like me, I constantly need to come back to God and repent. If repentance means I’m coming back to God, I keep refining myself, my attitudes, who I am coming back to God.
How to be blessed is to be who God called you to be and to make the decisions that you know you need to make to get back there.
God wants to bless you for who you are in the place where you are and He is saying, ‘Come and be who I called you to be. Build the culture, values, and customs of your life, and allow those things to come alive in you so that you can say, I’m righteous. I’m in right standing with God,’ and I assure you that you will be blessed exactly in the place where you are.
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