When others treat you poorly, be a blessing to them instead. God's purpose for you involves being a blessing to others. Our example of blessing is found in the character of God and how He blesses us.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ all right today? Oh I trust so, bless your heart. This is your good friend, Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you for a few moments together with God’s precious inerrant, infallible, eternal word, the Bible. It’s still dark outside, and I’ve just been carrying out all the trash. Don’t you, fellows do you hear, do you hate, hate to carry out the trash? I don’t why it is, it really isn’t all that distressing or terrible, but to have to get up what seems like the middle of the night and, and lug a couple of containers full of trash out to the street.
And sometimes you stand there thinking, “Why do I have to do this?” (Laughs) Do you ever feel that way? (Laughs) Well I’ll tell you, the essence of life is found in doing cheerfully the things that you don’t particularly want to do. One of the secrets of getting on through life is ‘do cheerfully what you have to do, and do it without grumbling, because a, a cheerful approach of the things you have to do will take the sting, and the bite, and the boredom, out of them’. Well, yes it’s still dark outside, and even the birds are still walking. But you and I are up, and we’re happy in the Lord. And I’m so glad to be with you, bless your heart.
We’re in 1 Peter 3, and the last time we got together we had just touched on this truth that, that Peter is giving us. He said, “Don’t talk back, or hit back, but,” he said, “render blessing. Your, it’s, it’s your privilege, Christian, it’s your privilege, to bless people.” Had you thought of your life in that connection? That when you come into a situation, people feel blessed? Now that’s not always true of me, I’m sure. Nor is it always true I suppose, of you. But the ideal, and God’s norm, is that you and I should deal in terms of blessing.
So Peter says, “Be all of one mind, having compassion; love us brethren; be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing.” Don’t hit back, or strike back, or, or talk back. “But contrary-wise blessing.” Instead of when, when, you know when people treat you poorly, instead of giving it back to them, you give them blessing — the blessing of the Lord. Because, “knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” God’s calling involves the forgiveness of our sins, yes it does. It, it’s, we’re called to righteousness, and we’re called to peace. And sometimes we’re called to suffer.
But this calling has to do with blessing. Part of God’s eternal purpose for you, is that you should be a blessing. Now that reaches right back into that very, the very character of God. What is the origin of our concept of blessing? Is it earthly? No, it’s heavenly. How many times in your prayer, have you prayed, “Oh Lord, bless me, or bless my family, or bless this effort.” I remember the closing prayer that one of my deacons use to pray. Invariably, he would to use the same words, “Lord bless these, these things that we have now done in deacon’s meeting, and if it, anything is against Your will, please hinder it.” (Laughs) He would always say, he would always pray that.
But our concept of blessing, beloved, goes right back to the heart, and holiness, and character, of our heavenly Father. Blessing. So he said, “Part of God’s calling is that you should inherit blessing. You didn’t work for it. God just gave it to you, it’s part of His grace.” Now you can think in terms of what, what the Bible uses to define blessing. ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitting, seateth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and His law doth he meditate day and night.’ God’s blessed person is one who’s in the Word.
Our Lord Jesus gave us the Beatitudes. “Blessed are they poor in Spirit. Blessed are they that mourn. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the merciful. Blessed are the peacemakers,” so on… The blessing of God as delineated by our Lord Jesus Christ. The blessing of God is found in forgiveness. “Blessed is the man whose transgression is, is covered, whose sins is, is forgiven.” And there, there’s the blessing of obedience. In James 1, “Who so looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein” — that means, ‘obeys it’ —“continueth therein, He being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; this man shall be blessed in his deed.” Well those are just a few passages that I’ve cited from memory here.
Blessing. And all of it comes from the very heart and character of your loving heavenly Father, so that we are properly correct, I think, in saying that the concept of blessing is the extension of the character, of God. If you wanted a, if you wanted a, a, a miniaturization of God’s character, you could look at Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” That’s a miniaturization, a telescoping of the concept of God’s character. And that is what is evidenced when you and I are people of blessing.
Now what is the… what, what contributes, what constitutes, rather I should say, what constitutes a life of blessing? Well you have some thoughts about that, that Peter gives us in this third chapter, and I want to look at them with you, as time serves us. He said that, “Ye should inherit the blessing…” Now remember, it’s part of God’s gift of grace. God’s gracious way of dealing with you is to give you a life that is characterized by an atmosphere of blessing. And we said that the atmosphere of blessing is an extension of their, the very heart and character of your loving heavenly Father. So that when you walk into a room, people feel somehow the presence of God; they’re blessed by it. All right?
Now, how does this work? Well, “To be blessed,” Peter says, “there are two elements that show up. One is, he that will love life. When things are right with God, and your life is, is in His control, it’s a joy just to be alive.” Now that doesn’t say that, that there, there won’t be trials, or illnesses, or pain, or suffering. All of that is part of living, isn’t it? Suffering is part of human existence, we learn that after we live a while. And so to love life doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is coming up roses, and that you don’t have an ache, or a pain, or that you don’t have any trials, or that everything always goes right.
No, God allows us to have some trials, so we’ll seek His face. “Therefore will the Lord wait,” the Bible says, “that He maybe gracious unto you.” You wouldn’t know the grace of God unless you had to come as a supplicant. You wouldn’t know the tender forgiveness of God, as He wipes away your bitter tears of regret, unless you had stumbled. And you wouldn’t know the balm of Gilead as applied by the nail-pierced hand, unless there had been those experiences where you needed comfort.
And now you can say, “Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us, in all our tribulation, that we may be able also to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God comforts you, so that you can comfort others. And all of these things unfortunately, are wrapped up in the fabric of, of human difficulties, and oftentimes, sufferings. So I know this very minute, I’m talking to people who are aching, hurting, or maybe weeping, who knows. That’s how life is. And so I come then to this phrase, “He that would love life, this is the essence of blessing, that somehow it’s wonderful to be alive because it’s you and God, walking through life together.”
“Can two walk together accept they be agreed,” said the prophet. You have the privilege, like Enoch, of walking with God because you’ve agreed with Him at Calvary. And now you’re going His way. “He that will love life…” To wake up in the morning, and to be glad that you’re alive to serve God for another day. No matter if your, if your body is aching; no matter if arthritis is swollen up those joints until it’s a, it’s a, a real labor even to, to put one foot out of bed, and, and get goin’ in the morning; no matter if there’s problems with the family, or with the job, or with the community; no matter if you’ve got trials to face — yes, face them, but face them with God. It’s wonderful to be alive with God. That’s the essence of blessing. You follow that?
See, the alternative is to groan, groan, ‘g-r-o-a-n’, groan your way through life. And to endure it. Lots of people seem just to endure life. We don’t have to do it that way, beloved. I can’t promise you that being a Christian is going to remove all of the causes of, of regret, or pain, or suffering, or discomfort, or trouble. See, God says, “I’ll be with him in trouble.” God didn’t say, “I’ll take all the troubles away.” God’s presence with you makes all the difference. “Ye though I walk through the valley of the shadow, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.” Yes, I may be in the valley of the shadow. The gloom is around me, there’s no way out, or up, but God is there. Oh, that makes such a difference.
The touch of His precious nail-pierced hand. Your Savior is with you. He said, “I will never leave you. Lo, I am with you all the way.” See, “He that will love like Thee…” What constitutes blessing? A relationship with God that makes you just love to live, because God is walking with you, step by step. And His presence is with you, moment by moment. Can you take that in? Yes, I know that we have troubles. But instead of, of fighting the troubles, face life with God and let Him make all of life a blessed miracle.
So then that brings us to the, the second element of that which constitutes a blessed life here. And we won’t finish it today, but we can at least telegraph it to our hearts and minds. “He that will love life and see good days, see good days…” You’ve said to yourself sometimes, “Well, today was a good day.” And that meant that everything went right. Well, some days everything goes wrong — Murphy’s Law applies, doesn’t it? “If anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible time.”
You can’t always have everything happening just the way you wish. But it can be a good day from heaven’s point of view — that’s the point. Some of the times when I complain the most bitterly to God about what was happening, turned out to be times when He was getting ready to bless me in a very wonderful way. And I had to come back and apologize, say, “Lord, sorry Lord, that I complained.” So we’ll get at this the next time we get together. Part of the essence of blessing is having every day be an adventure with God.
Dear Father, help us today to be so close to Thee that that every day — this day and the others — will be an adventure with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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