Most of us still believe there is a God, a higher power—in spite of the secularization of our society. According to Pew Research, more than three-fourths (77 percent) of Americans identify with some organized religion. But the question is: Why do we believe in God? And what do we want from Him?
The Bible makes it clear that God wants to bless us: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) But do we want the blessing of God?
The blessing or the curse?In the Garden, after God created man in his image, He blessed them, male and female. And He continued to bless: Noah, Abraham, and many others down through the ages. When God called Abram, He promised to bless him, to make his name great, and through him to bless all families of the earth. The blessings here are plainly associated with things such as prosperity, peace, happiness, well-being, and fulfillment.
King David speaks about the blessing bringing an increase to us and our children. (Psalms 115:13-14)
Interestingly, the word curse occurs in the Bible around 230 times, but the words for bless and blessing appear 410 times. Blessings produce good and beneficial results, while curses produce bad and harmful outcomes. (see Deut 28)
Internationally recognized Bible teacher, the late Derek Prince, explains that the intent of a blessing is to release positive, spiritual power that connects to the dominion of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. By contrast, a curse releases negative spiritual energy, connecting to the realm of Satan.
Prince suggests that “a curse is like a dark, oppressive force that inhibits the full expression of our personality. We never feel completely free to be our self. We sense that we have potential within us that is never fully developed.” (Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose)
Beatitudes reveal route and blessingsIn the Beatitudes, Jesus describes the route we must take if we want God’s blessings. (Matthew 5:3-10)
1. The poor in spirit—theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Those who mourn—they shall be comforted.
3. The gentle—they shall inherit the earth.
4. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness—they shall be satisfied.
5. The merciful—they shall receive mercy.
6. The pure in heart—they shall see God.
7. The peacemakers—they shall be called sons of God.
People who take the pathway Jesus describes discover that the door to the spiritual realm—the kingdom of heaven—opens to them. They receive comfort and peace. And they become aware that they no longer have to be a victim in life.
But notice the first step begins with an awareness of our poverty: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We must see our own poverty, that we are failures, we are missing something, incomplete. We don’t like that!
We spend much of our life trying to prove something—that we are good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, skilled enough, confident enough, or spiritual enough. God seems to wait until we come to the point where we see our poverty before He moves powerfully in our life. At the same time, we must recognize there is something more than what we have. We see it in someone around us, recognize it is available, and make a decision: “Whatever it is they have, I want it.”
My world falls apartMy personal turning point came when I realized I lacked the resources to handle the doctor’s diagnosis—your son has leukemia. My years in church, my nursing studies, had been unable to prepare me for the death of my child.
This crisis of our son’s illness became the catalyst to search for a living God—a quest that opened the door to the kingdom of God. (See my blog for more of my story about how God met my need: https://judithdoctor.com/the-power-of-god-is-greater-than-death/)
Other world religions take a different route to seek the blessing of God: They tell us to try harder, to be good. But in Christianity we must first see our poverty, our brokenness, our failure. And we must see that we are lacking something and turn to God, if we want to experience his blessings in our life.
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
Judith Doctor, RN, MSW, is an Arcadian author, speaker, and spiritual life mentor. President of Kairos Ministries, Inc., her live broadcasts can be heard monthly on Radio Horeb in Europe. Her books on dreams and forgiveness are available on Amazon and other online booksellers. email@example.com.