Have you noticed a shift in priorities in the minds of a lot of Christians these days? Specifically, that there is an entitlement attitude when it comes to the subject of God’s blessings? It goes something like this: I profess to be a Christian. I go to church. I deserve to be rewarded (blessed) for my efforts. Somewhere in the confusion, the fact that we exist solely to worship God has been supplanted by the idea that God exists to bless us.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In the 66 books of the Bible it is clear that God’s primary interest in us has very little to do with making us happy and wealthy. Of course, there are many scriptures that speak of the joy of the Lord, as well as about prosperity and good health. What we must understand however is that these things are a by-product of obedience.

Taken in its entirety, the Bible is clear that God’s priority for us is not to make us happy, but holy. That is because while we are more focused on being as comfortable as possible in this world, the Lord is focused on preparing us for where we will spend eternity. Do you see the difference?

Nowhere is the gap between these two positions more evident than with the false prosperity teaching that is now fully entrenched in the church. This false gospel is focused almost entirely on getting riches instead of giving worship to the Lord. It is a man-centered belief rooted in the love of money and the pride of life. In it, there is no place for the humble. Obedience has been relegated to blindly ‘sowing your best seed’.

As I began to study for an upcoming message on the subject of obedience, I began to notice a pattern: blessings came after obedience. Take the story of Abram (later named Abraham) for example. In chapter 12 of Genesis, we see that God has promised to bless His servant Abram.

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV

Abram was 75 years old when he departed Haran and headed for Canaan after having received an incredible promise from God. What did he do upon receiving these great promises? Did he set back and wait for the shower of blessings to rain down on him? Did he look around for a place to ‘sow a seed’?

The very first thing Abram did was to believe God [1]. The next thing he did was to pack up and move away from everything that was familiar to him. Are you starting to see a pattern of obedience here? If you continue reading the book of Genesis, you will find out that Abram did more than believe and move. He also endured.

Abram had to overcome many obstacles that stood between the promise of blessing and actually receiving it. Here is a sampling of what this man encountered on the way to receiving what the Lord had promised:

  • He was forced to remove himself from his homeland, his family, and his father’s house
  • He dealt with famine
  • His wife was kidnapped by Pharaoh’s princes
  • There was family strife with his nephew Lot
  • Later on there was more family strife over Hagar and Ishmael
  • His nephew Lot was kidnapped, forcing Abram to go to war to rescue him
  • He carried the mental and spiritual burden of knowing that God’s people would be held captive for 400 years
  • He interceded with the Lord to save Sodom and Gomorrah if as few as ten righteous souls could be found in those cities
  • He saw his wife kidnapped again, this time by Abimelech king of Gerar
  • Abram walked in faithful obedience before the Lord for 24 years before God changed his name to Abraham, or the father of many nations

All these things happened to Abram after he received the promises of great blessings. If you were to read the entire Genesis account of this man’s life, you would not find even one instance where he felt entitled to receive anything. What you will find instead is one example after another of his faithful obedience to his God.

I don’t know about you, but that tells me something. It tells me that even though I might receive a promise of blessings from God, that promise often comes with a price tag. What does it cost? The price is 100% obedience.

  • Obedience when your family is being torn apart
  • Obedience when you lose your home and everything dear to you
  • Obedience when you wonder where the next meal is coming from
  • Obedience when you’re called upon to stand in the gap for others
  • Obedience when all your friends abandon you
  • Obedience when the doctor gives you a bad report

There is no such thing as a cheap blessing. Never has been, never will be. It may surprise some of you to read this, but God does not need your money! Neither can we buy a blessing from Him. Yes, give unto the Lord from the perspective of a grateful heart, but do not give with the expectation of profiting from your giving!

Blessings come from being obedient to the Lord and to His word.

Have a blessed day, in Jesus name!

Ron

[1] Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23