Friday, October 15, 2010

ARE YOU SEEKING A BLESSING? OR SEEKING TO BE A BLESSING?



NOTE:  In this day of self-focus, many seek God so that He will bless them.  They want all the good things so they can spend it on themselves. (see James 4:3)  Jesus came to show us that the Father is always giving, so we must be always giving.  I love Zac’s teaching which I received this morning.  Take this to heart with me today!

ARE YOU SEEKING A BLESSING
OR SEEKING TO BE A BLESSING?

Zac Poonen

The Bible says that the gift of the Holy Spirit is meant to bring to us "the blessing of Abraham" (Gal.3:14). When God blessed Abraham, He told him, "I will bless you and you will be a blessing. In you all the families of the earth will be blessed..." (Gen.12:2-3).

There are two parts to that blessing: "I will bless you" and "You will be a blessing". This is what happens when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Most believers seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be blessed themselves, and not in order to be a blessing to others. This is why there are so many counterfeit experiences of the Holy Spirit rampant in Christendom today.

Jesus said that the power of the Holy Spirit would make us His witnesses ("a blessing to others", as He Himself was) to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). This is "the blessing of Abraham" who was told that "the entire world will be blessed because of you" (Gen.12:3-Living). Families living in the uttermost parts of the earth would be blessed through Abraham. And families living in the uttermost parts of the earth will be blessed through us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus told the Jews in the synagogue at Nazareth about His being anointed with the Spirit and the blessings that would flow out as a result, He mentioned, "preaching the gospel to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, delivering the oppressed, announcing freedom for the captives, sight for the blind and the blessings of God, to one and all" (Lk. 4:18-19-Living). Notice that every single result of the anointing was blessing to others. Peter's words in Cornelius' house agrees with this : "Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil." (Acts 10:38). Again we notice that the emphasis is on blessing to others.

When Jesus taught His disciples to ask their heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit, He illustrated it with a parable (see Luke 11:5-13). He spoke of a man who went to his neighbour's house and kept on knocking until he got the loaves of bread that he needed for feeding a visitor. The main point of the parable is persistence in asking for the Holy Spirit (as becomes clear in verse 13). But we must also notice the fact that the man did not go to get bread for himself, but for another. It was someone else's need that drove him to his neighbour's house. Once he had got the bread from his neighbour and had fed his visitor, I presume he must have gone to bed and not gone around "reporting" this good deed to others. I can't imagine this man getting someone to take a photograph of him giving the bread to his visitor at midnight and then sending copies of the photograph to all his neighbours.

Yet many Christians do just that: They advertise the good they do, in order to impress people that they are serving God. Jesus told us that even our left hand should not know what our right hand does.

God wants to bless us - immensely. But He does not want us to become reservoirs or lakes. He wants us to be channels through which rivers of living water flow out to others (Jn.7:37-39). And He wants those rivers to flow secretly and quietly, for the glory of God alone.

Every gift of the Spirit mentioned in the New Testament epistles is meant to bless others (1 Cor.12; Rom.12; Eph.4). Even the gift of tongues that edifies us personally is given primarily so that we might always be spiritually fresh and in touch with God, so that we can serve others better.

Those who seek after personal blessing primarily - whether physical health, material prosperity or emotional excitement - have not understood God's purpose at all. These are only the crumbs that fall from His table.

Our calling as believers is to follow in Jesus' footsteps - and He did not come to earth to be blessed Himself, but to bless others.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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