Monday, March 21, 2011

"Defining the Blessing" by Garris Elkins

In the life of each believer there are times when it is obvious that the favor of God is resting upon our lives. In these times of visible favor we will see doors open and access granted that previously had not taken place. I am in one of those seasons. As I see God's visible favor upon my life I also recognize I have a problem - I haven't clearly defined the difference between the state of being blessed by God, simply because I am His and He is mine, and those by-products of His blessing that come because of my relationship with Him. Let me try to explain.

I have walked with God for many years. In these years I have seen God do some wonderful and remarkable things. These blessings have been sprinkled along my path and I have truly thanked God for each of them. In this time of my life, however, the sprinkles have become a flow of blessing. Blessings in my family, ministry, writing and an expanding favor in relationships, are all around me.

As believers, we live in the favor of God, all the time, because we are in Christ. The favor of God is Christ and we belong to Him. Because of that continual position of favor some wonderful things will begin to take place as a result of our relationship with God through Christ. These blessings that flow from our relationship with God are the by-products of God’s favor, they are not the favor itself. Maybe someone will write a book, or get asked to speak somewhere, or someone will sell a product to a company they never dreamed would take notice of them and what they were trying to market. These good things are not the favor itself, but the results of God’s favor.

However we define it, favor sets in motion events and passages that are not navigated in human strength and wisdom alone. The favor of God makes possible what is not possible in our natural abilities. Here is where the challenge comes.

It is too easy to not draw a line between living in the perpetual state of favor with God and those by-products that come because of that favor. The result of this blurred, and sometimes non-existent line, is that when “things” are not happening we can begin to think we no longer live in His favor. Or, when “things” are happening, we think they are actually the favor of God and not simply the by-product of His favor.

Unless we clearly define the difference between these two we can begin to link our identity to the by-products of God’s favor instead of finding our identity in Him, the source of our favor. This becomes a dangerous place for a believer because we can begin to try and make things happen to somehow validate the favor of God in our lives. In the end this fights against the grace of God and leads us into a distorted identity of human effort and self-promotion.

The beginning of victory in this area comes when we actually see that we have blurred the line between the Blessing and the blessing. Once we see this blurring, then through confession and repentance, we can realize once again that intimate union with God that is filled with His unchanging and secure favor. We will no longer need to live in the compromise that emerges when we think a blessing is the Blessing. Our identity is in the Blessing Himself, not in what flows out of that blessed union.

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