© Schulter Etyang 4 min read
There are only two ways through which we receive blessings from God. The one way is to deserve the blessings, and the other is to not deserve (undeserved) the blessings.
- Deserved way
- Undeserved way
The deserved way
So, how do we try to deserve blessings from God?
Non-Christians try to earn their blessings from God through good works or living good moral lives. They work hard. They are honest individuals. They pay their taxes. They love their spouses and kids. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. They are good citizens. They obey the laws of the land. They are good people.
Christians try to earn their blessings from God also by being good or in their case being spiritual. They fast and pray. They give their tithes. They go to Church. They love God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, and love their neighbours as themselves. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. They attend Christian conferences and events. They read books of Christian authors. They read the Bible throughout the year. They serve at the local Church. They are humble and kind. They are spiritual people.
See how both groups seek to get a blessing from God? They seek to deserve the blessings from God.
The problem with this approach is this, inevitably, frustration, anger and bitterness set in when it seems God is not responding to our good deeds – God is not keeping his end of the bargain.
I listened to a friend of mine tell a story about a certain Christian lady. This lady was so faithful in the Church, yet things weren’t working for her. By things I mean, she was not enjoying the blessings from God. Her life and her children’s lives were in chaos. They just couldn’t seem to make headways in life. Yet, she was a faithful member of her Church. She was actively involved in the Church. She was a prayer warrior. Her kids attended the same Church. What was wrong? Why was there no breakthrough in her life?
Did you notice how my friend tried to justify why the lady should be blessed?
This is where we get it wrong, I believe. My friend was trying to make the lady deserve her blessings. He implied that God is obligated to bless this lady because she was faithful. My response to my friend was, “If this lady got her breakthrough because she was faithful, then that is not a blessing but payment for her faithfulness. She has been serving the Church, and the God of her Church had now repaid her for her work”. My friend was stunned. He got the point.
I went further and said this, “If this Christian lady gets her blessings from God because she was faithful, then she is no different from the non-Christian who expects the same from the man upstairs or a higher being”. Absolutely no difference!
Which brings me to my second point.
The undeserved way
The gospel is clear that the only way we are accepted and blessed by God is by not deserving his blessings. This idea runs counter to our default mode. Our default mode is to work hard and deserve our blessings. Jesus throws a wrench into this idea.
Undoubtedly, this is a difficult thing to grasp unless you consider how unworthy you are in the first place. You and I do not deserve any good thing from God because of what Adam, what our forefather did. He rebelled against God, and in his one act, we were all tagged rebels. We were all tagged sinners. Sinners do not deserve any good thing from God. They only deserve punishment. This is what we deserve.
When Christians and non-Christians claim that the basis for having blessings from God is being good, they underestimate how bad they are. No good thing we do to get blessings from God is enough. Why? Our fall was so bad and the only thing we deserved was the sword. We had to die.
But a great thing has happened. Jesus, the Son of God bore the punishment for our sins so that God could accept and bless sinners. In other words, Jesus took our deserved punishment so that we could receive his undeserved favour. Jesus did the good works so that we could receive God’s blessings.
The Bible makes a case for this way of receiving blessings from God. The Syrophoenician woman, blind Bartimaeus, the centurion amongst others are examples of people who received from Jesus underserving blessings. All of them pointed to their unworthiness, and this prompted Jesus to do something for them.
It should be said of you (Christian), how come you have that yet you are the least qualified person? How come you live there yet you are not the wealthiest person? How come you drive that, yet you don’t earn much? How come you are so rested, yet all hell has broken loose around you? How come you have that position, yet you don’t have the qualifications for that job? How come you are so healthy, yet you don’t exercise often or even eat organic foods, only? How come your kids are so balanced, yet we don’t see you taking them to see this specialist and that specialist? How come you only have one source of income, yet everyone has a side hustle to make ends meet?
Your response should be, “It is all who Jesus is and what he has done for me. It is all by the grace of God. I don‘t deserve these things but God has given them to me because of what Jesus did for me by his death on the cross. I, now live out of the abundant riches that he has made available for me. And it is this undeserving grace that keeps me humble because I cannot boast that I did anything about the blessings I have. All the glory goes to God”.
Jenny said to me the other day, “God is going to bless you so much that people will think it‘s fraud”. I said, “That’s what grace looks like”.