“Let us make man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26)
What image is that? How are we made in God’s image? Perhaps even more foundationally, why did God make us?
God is love. 1 John 4:16
Love by its nature desires to be shared. God set Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and walked with them in the “cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). Love desires communion, fellowship. God desired to have an intimate relationship with Adam and Eve. So, He made Adam and Eve in His image. Part of that image is the capacity to give and receive love. Part of the definition of love is, it must be given freely. God gave man a free will. He didn’t require man to love him. He wanted man to freely choose to walk in an intimate love relationship with Him. Without free will, man would have been an automaton able to perform whatever the designer programmed it to perform.
So, part of His image is a free will, love and the ability to express it.
How does God express love? One of the words closely associated with the physical manifestation of love from God is the word bless or blessing. The word bless means to “confer or invoke divine favor upon”. God is a blessor! He is passionate to pour out His love on His people. It is who He is and what He does. He can’t help Himself. Love compels Him. God shows His love by blessing.
Love Is A Mystery?
When we freely choose Him and desire that intimate relationship (done in worship and communion with Him) then we will live out life in a manner that shows that we want a relationship with Him. In other words, I will behave in a manner that embellishes relationship versus depletes the relationship. Because I love Him and want an intimate relationship with Him, I will do what pleases Him, not what displeases Him.
Some say “Love is a mystery. You never know when you are going to fall in love.” Let me take a minute to correct that philosophy. Love is not a mystery. Our hearts are like a bank account. Those who make regular deposits are those that are easy for me to love. Those who only make withdrawals are hard for me to love. Into whose bank account are you depositing? Who is depositing in your bank account? Are you making withdrawals or deposits?
For illustration, I want my wife’s bank account (her heart) to have a surplus of “funds” there. I don’t want it ever to be in the negative where an “overdraft” can take place. Therefore, I must be diligent to make regular deposits into her account. Usually, when someone says, I don’t love you anymore, what they are saying is, “I’m bankrupt, I’m in the negative” and they don’t “feel” love from that person anymore. What’s the remedy? Add funds. Begin making regular deposits. Bring the “balance” way up and see if the “feelings” don’t change. Love isn’t accidental. It is purposeful and takes focus until we come to a place that we are automatically depositing. Direct deposits?
Looking at this analogy in light of my relationship with God, what kind of deposits have I been making? Only withdrawals? Periodic deposits?
What is the main thing in life?
When this life is over, and I’m called to my heavenly home, I will be faced with the main thing. Will my God say to me in that moment, “Well done good and faithful servant”? Or will He say, “Get away from me, I never knew you.”
If the main thing in life is to walk in an intimate relationship with God, why aren’t we doing it? Someone once said, “If you don’t like being with God now (on earth), what is heaven going to be like for you?”
Many of us have gotten caught up in the affairs of life. Raising children, trying to make a living, building a business, going to church, etc… are things that have clouded our highest calling. Let us change our minds and get back to making the “main thing” in life, the main thing! Let us pursue that intimate relationship with God for which He yearns. Let us pursue the knowledge of the Holy One. His promise is true, “If you seek me with all of your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:13
In the context of this love relationship and being made in His image, what is it that I am called to do? Well, what does God do? He blesses. He is a blessor. In light of that, I am a blessor as well. Whom do I bless? I bless God and people. This is what I do. Because I am made in His image, I’m a blessor. Who I am determines what I do. My identity reveals my function, my doing. Out of a heart of love, I am compelled to bless. What does my blessing look like? How do I bless?
Ge 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Ge 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Blessing For All Generations
The above promise was made to Abraham. He is known as the father of faith. “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”, blessing is passed on to the next generations. Blessing is our privilege. However, “life and death is in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21) so what is coming out of our mouths. Joshua exhorted the people that God has set before them blessings and cursing, life and death. Choose therefore life. Is life coming out of our mouths? Is blessing being released?
De 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
Did you notice in the verse above how His love and blessing are tied together? His love is expressed by blessing us.
What may seem obvious is that I bless (pour out love) according to the way God made me. I bless with the strengths, weaknesses, gifts, passions, mind, will and emotions with which God made me. What are the things that make me uniquely me? Let me illustrate. Some say I have a sense of humor. That sense of humor is God given. I don’t “try” to be humorous. It just naturally flows. Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily follow that everyone is crazy about my humor. Some get it, some don’t. The other day I had a thought. “Send my 36 year-old daughter a text saying I love you.” And then Stevie Wonder’s song came to mind, “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. So, my text read, “I just texted to say I love you. Wow, I sound like Stevie Wonder!” Her reply was, “Awwww Dad!! I love you too!! That just made my day! Thank you! And now I’ll be hearing Stevie Wonder all day too…love it!” Smiley face & three hearts icons followed.
Wow, blessing my daughter with a little note was the catalyst for her heart to erupt with joy, love and confidence. “Wow, my dad loves me.” Apparently, she needed to hear that today.
My point is, we need to bless God and people with the make up with which He has made us. He is not asking you to bless with what you don’t have. He is asking you to bless with what He has given you. So, what has He given you? A good exercise might be to take inventory of yourself. What do I have that He has given me? What is the “grace package” I am made up with (i.e. strengths, weaknesses, passions, giftedness, personality, etc…)? What has He given me in terms of talents, treasures and time? Often, we look at what we don’t have (i.e. when I get more money, I’ll give to the poor). Let’s train ourselves to look at what we do have. We always have something to bless God and others. Maybe it’s a prayer, a song, an encouraging word. Maybe it’s my time, or finances or my talents. The other day someone fixed my car and wouldn’t take any payment for it. What a blessing! Wow.
There has been a popular saying lately, “Pay it forward”. That’s what we get to do! Sow (bless) into others lives. And as we do what we were created for, blessing God and others, our hearts get filled with the love of God because we are doing what we were designed to do.
Much frustration and sadness come from not doing what we were designed to do. But when we do, our hearts are content and we sense the love of the Lord! Now we are walking in righteousness, doing the right thing. Blessing God and people.
How do I bless God?
“I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Psalm 145:1-2
Barak is the Hebrew word to bless meaning to kneel down, praise, an act of adoration, thank, salute, bestow, give a benefit.
It starts with my heart. I want to bless God. I hunger after intimacy with Him. I want Him 24/7. When I choose (from a free will) Him, to have a passionate love affair with Him (give Him my heart, in effect) I am on the road to blessing Him. Next, time. Time is the cost of relationship. If I want to have this kind of relationship with Him, I must spend time with Him. How do I spend time with a person I can’t see or touch?
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4
Thanksgiving and praise are a great place to begin. We thank Him for who He is and we praise Him for all that He has done. In our priestly role (see Revelation 1:6), we get to minister to Him in praise and thanksgiving. As we go through the gates of thanksgiving and through the courts of praise then we can continue to enter into the Holy Place (see the Tabernacle of Moses) of worship and finally before the Holy of Holies (the inner court). In our praise and worship we bless God. Another word for worship in the Hebrew is the word, work.
The second way we can bless the Lord with our work, all that we do. As we “re-present” Him in our daily living (work), we can bless the Lord. The word “work” in Hebrew is avodah. It is the same word that means worship. Our work is our worship to God if that is our mindset.
“My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD, And, all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.” Psalm 145:21
The Lord Blesses Us
Before we look at how we can bless people, let’s look at how the Lord wants to bless us in Deuteronomy twenty-eight.
1 “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.
2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
3 “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.
4 “Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.
5 “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
6 “Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7 “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8 “The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
9 “The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.
10 “Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.
11 “And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
12 “The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
13 “And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.
Doesn’t this make clear how much the Lord wants to bless you? And how much He loves you?
We want to bless people in like manner. We bless people through the grace (God given make-up) He has given me, with my time, talents and treasures.
Just like when we bless God, it starts with a right heart, the heart of God. What does God’s heart want for people? We just saw it in Deuteronomy 28. God wants good for people. That’s why God is in the process of “taking out our stony hearts and giving us a heart of flesh” (His heart). Ezekiel 11:19 So, with His heart, we bless people.
Next, we verbalize it. We say something. Our words are powerful. They are creative! “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21 When we speak, we release the creative power of the tongue. We need to be careful with our words. They are powerful. “So, shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void (empty) but it shall accomplish what I please and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
And out of the heart, the mouth speaks. That’s why we want God’s heart, not that old stony heart. When we bless people, we are agreeing with heaven. We are God’s mouthpiece in the earth. When we bless people, we are making a pronouncement, a formal declaration of what God would say over them.
Perhaps the best way to say something over someone is to start with the Word of God. When we speak scriptures over people we certainly are agreeing with heaven, with God.
When we speak the word of God, we are releasing heaven as it were into the lives of men. We are standing in our office as sons of God who are carrying out our Father’s business. The enemy hates this. Because blessings remove the curses. And therefore, brings forth life! Joshua said to the people, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you, life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore, choose life, that both you and your seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19
When we bless, life is the result. When we curse, death is the result. Joshua is exhorting here to choose life and be blessed!
When we speak blessing, it sets in motion the power of God to bring that blessing to pass.
We bless with our words. We also bless with our actions. James 2:18 admonishes us to show our faith by our actions. My identity is a son of God but what I do is serve. Who I am is a son of God. What I do (actions) is to serve. My privilege is serving others. This is different than being a servant who serves. A servant has no authority or heritage in the family. A son does. Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what the master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 As a son who serves, we get to represent the Father to the world. Jesus only did what he saw the Father do. John 5:19 We want to do only what the Father would do.
God’s design is that we live in community serving Him and one another. We are to be a family of God. Perhaps that is why we call Him, Father. And Jesus, elder brother. We are called to bless one another and therefore see life go forth.
Let’s start life afresh today. Let’s start blessing God and one another with a new zeal, a new passion that, this is what God created me to do! I get to bless. It’s what I do. I am my Father’s son. I am a blessor!