Am I Blessed?

If you want a correct definition of “blessed” look no further than the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:1-12: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me...” One writer pointed out something eye-opening about the way I and many others have used the word “blessed.”

“I have a sneaking suspicion verses 12a 12b and 12c were omitted from the text. That’s where the disciples responded by saying, “12a Waitest thou for one second, Lord. What about “blessed art the comfortable”, or 12b “blessed art thou which havest good jobs, a modest house in the suburbs, and a yearly vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast?” 12c And Jesus said unto them, “Apologies, my brothers, but those did not maketh the cut.” So there it is.  Written in red.  Plain as day. Even still, we ignore it all when we hijack the word “blessed” to make it fit neatly into our modern American ideals, creating a cosmic lottery where every sincere prayer buys us another scratch-off ticket. In the process, we stand the risk of alienating those we are hoping to bring to the faith” (Scott Dannemiller).

I will admit that when I first pondered this subject I pulled out the concordance to see if I could somehow find a scriptural defense for the way I have always (mis)used the word “blessed.” I was sadly mistaken. The more I researched the word, the more I discovered how very little God connects blessedness with pleasant or abundant earthly conditions. The sermon on the mount, as it turns out, is not the only place we find beatitudes. The book of Revelation alone gives us another half dozen:

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy” (1:3).

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (14:13).

“Behold, I am coming like a thief; Blessed is the one who stays awake” (16:15).

“Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9).

“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection” (20:6).

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life...” (22:14).

Let us be careful that we are not tricking ourselves into believing we are “blessed” for all the wrong reasons. Blessedness is a condition of the saved, no matter what their earthly situation is. Peter notes in Acts 3:25 that all the families of the earth will be blessed through the seed of the patriarch. This is accomplished in Jesus Christ, and is irrespective of a person’s wealth or poverty, health or illness. Also consider Ephesians 1:3 and ask yourself just what kind of blessing Paul is talking about there – “spiritual blessings in the heavenly places.”