Before I had a relationship with Jesus, I found myself in the “self-help” section of the bookstore quite often. If you have never been to this section of the bookstore then let me just tell you, they have a book for everything offering quick-fixes and wishful thinking for our deep-rooted problems. Unhappy in your marriage? Get a divorce. Not making enough money? Cheat your way to the top. What these books told me was that I was the solution to all of my problems, and in order to live a blessed and satisfying life, I had to have faith in myself. And because of that, I remained in a rut. Why? Because I wasn’t happy with who I was. No book could speak to my brokenness, and I soon began to see that self-help was the path to a selfish life. There is only one Book that holds the answers we are searching for- the Bible – God’s Word. In a world that is filled with different opinions and “self-help” books, it is easy to look for answers in all the wrong places. But when we surrender our lives to Jesus, He removes the blinders from our eyes, enabling us to see life from a different perspective. Faith no longer hangs upon what we can or can’t do on our own, but is found in a God who was, and is, and is to come.
“You are blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.” - Psalm 119:1-8
We all want a blessed life, to live joyfully and to be content. But in order to do that, we must live by principles. This means we must look past how we feel and obey what God says. Our feelings will betray us, but God’s Word never returns void, and it will always produce the right kind of fruit. God didn’t promise a pain-free life, but He did promise that our pain would produce endurance.
Our greatest motivating factor is love. We love our spouses, so we honor them and remain faithful. We love others, so we encourage people daily. We love our children, so we protect them. Love compels us to action, just like it compelled Jesus to action. For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son (John 3:16). A difficult, yet love-motivated, sacrifice. For God is love, and if we truly love Him then following the straight and narrow path isn’t hard.
So, I want to leave you with some questions to wrestle with as you seek to live a blessed life…
Am I a person of integrity?
Do I obey God’s Word?
Am I searching for God with all of my heart?
Do I compromise with evil when things get tough, or do I turn from evil?
Do my actions reflect God’s decrees?
Does the way I live show gratitude?
Do I compare myself to others, or do I compare myself to God’s commands?
Do you believe that God will never give up on you?
Living a blessed life isn't about self-gratification, nor is it wishful thinking. Living blessed is intentional, a posture of the heart. It’s saying, God is first no matter what comes my way.