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the promised one :: lesson eight

Could you relate to Jacob in this weeks lesson? I would like to say that I would never make a big mess out of my life like Jacob did but the truth is I often do. I see myself in Jacob. I’ve done the same things we see Jacob doing in this lesson…deceiving, longing for blessing but trying to receive it the wrong way, coming to God primarily for what I can get from Him not to have more of Him, and struggling over and over again to control my life instead of giving God full control. But also like Jacob, God has chosen me. He is patient with me as he transforms me into the image of Christ. When I am faithless, He remains faithful. He pursues me even when I continue to screw up. And His strength is seen in my many weaknesses as He uses my life for His glory despite my failures. Praise God for the hope I have in Christ!

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. Psalm146:5

After studying this lesson I have been thinking a lot about blessing. What does it mean to be blessed by God? For a lot of my life I saw blessing in the context of the good things I wanted or thought I needed that God gave to me. While God definitely deserves the glory for all the “good” things in my life, I think I have been missing something big.

“Many of us come to God initially and primarily for what we can get from him. We’re savvy consumers, and we see God as the source of the many things we want but have been unable to get on our own. We think we have the system worked out—we are supposed to pray and go to church and try to be good—and that puts us in good stead with God so that he will be disposed—even obligated—to give us the things on our prayer list—good health for ourselves and those we love, freedom from the ache of need or the intense pain of loss, freedom from the frustration of struggle” (Guthrie p211).

So what does Biblical blessing look like? Through Jacob’s life we see that:

  • Blessing comes not through grasping, but through trusting and being willing to wait on God (p215).
  • Blessing is not merely getting things from God, but experiencing the presence of God (p217).
  • Blessing is not God giving to me but God working in me, changing me into the image of Christ (p220).
  • To be blessed is not to live free of struggle, but to cling to Christ in the midst of the struggle (p223).

I want to see blessing even in my struggles as I become desperate for God and cling to him in a deeper way than I have before. Some of the hardest, most sorrowful times in my life have been the most intimate times in my relationship with Jesus. I pressed into Jesus and He met me in the midst of my deep sorrow. As I experience times of loss, God gently and lovingly reveals to me that I already have everything I need in Christ.

I wish that would be the end. No more struggles. But I often find myself sliding back into the natural attitude of our consumerist culture–coming to God to see what I can get from him rather than coming to God to get more of Him. I have to constantly die to my selfish desires and to myself. And so often that means waiting and trusting in God’s timing. I have to believe the truth that,

“Jesus is the greatest blessing God could ever give to you, and because he has given Christ for you and to you, you have everything you need. ‘He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32).  You don’t have to grasp or grab; you need only to open your arms and receive” (p226).

Jesus is our greatest blessing.

He is truly all we need.

He is enough.

Your turn: In our consumerist culture it comes naturally to approach God looking for what we can get from him rather than seeking how we can get more of him. Can you see this in your own life?

This is an online study of The Promised One by Nancy Guthrie.

You can find all the study information here and here.

Past lessons can be found here: lesson one

lesson two

lesson three

lesson four

lesson five

lesson six

lesson seven

  • Mindy - This is for sure something I have struggled with.I came to Christ originally to feel better,forgive myself,stop bad habits,make my husband act the way I want etc.When I didn’t get what I wanted I would pull away from God.As time has passed and God is changing me I am feeling much more content just resting in Christ.Even if all is not as I want it or,I don’t get what I want from God,he is teaching me that just being with him,studying his word,talking to him,praising him,adoring him is So much more fulfilling than alot of the “stuff” I want from him.Not that these things are bad but,I need to desire God for just who he is more than desiring him for just what I can get from him,And,I am learning that is the most peaceful,content place to be.ReplyCancel

  • Mindy - Also,lesson 8 has so far taught me the most.I have learned something from them all but,this one I very much enjoyed !ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann - It is interesting how we relate to God…when things are going well, we are happy and know that He is there for us. But it was in my darkest, most loneliest hours that I truely truely found God and know now He will never leave me without the comfort and peace of the Holy Ghost. His love for me will never waiver!! It is me that waivers; it is me that loses hope; it is me that needs to change. Thanks for always seeing all sides to the problem of faith and hope. It certianly isn’t a one sided issue. You are amazing, Jess. I wish I lived closer to you so I could get to know you better. You and your little family are so cute and sweet. I know you have been blessed because of the good example you’ve been to not only those who know you personally but those of us who only know you through your blog. Keep writing and keep smiling.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Oooh, this chapter hurt a little bit because I could see so much of myself in Jacob. Wrestling– always wrestling. Dare I admit that I struggle with having more heartache in my life? . . . because I’m tempted to believe that I’ve filled my grief quota for this lifetime. I want to tell Him that I’ve sacrificed enough already, thankyouverymuch. I realize how selfish and horrible that sounds– and how very Consumer American it makes me. So for me, it takes courage to seek more of Him, to not be fearful of what that may mean. Never in a million years do I desire to treat God as a genie who should give me what I want from Him– but the desire creeps in and sends me to my knees.ReplyCancel