If you have wondered what it takes to live a "blessed life", then you have to look no further than the examples we find in scripture. Some will say there is a whole lot tragedy and suffering in those pages, so how can I ever equate that with living a blessed life. It depends on how you view your blessings, my friend. I have learned much from the suffering in my own life - some might even say I have been made stronger, and grown in my relationship with Jesus and others as a result. Now, in my estimation - that is a blessed life.
Respect the Lord and be humble. Then you will have wealth, honor, and true life. (Proverbs 22:4 ERV)
A blessed life is one in which the Lord receives the right placement and the right honor. When we are humble enough to acknowledge we have need of the Savior's oversight and work in our lives, we begin the journey toward true blessing. As long as we hold onto the reins of our lives, we won't realize the blessing of being in his protective care. It is much more work to hold on than it is to let go, though. As "hard" as we may think it is to "let go" of those reins, it is much, much harder to hold so tightly to them when the world around us is spinning in every direction!
I looked up synonyms for the word respect. Do you know there are about twenty? In fact, when I began to look at some of the synonyms, I was kind of amazed to see how much they really pointed toward the type of relationship we are to maintain with Christ. Here are just a few:
- Appreciate. In essence, when we say we are to "appreciate" the Lord, we are saying we are to place him in the place of the highest of regard in our lives. This means we do more than place him on a pedestal as some "thing" we worship, but rather to give him the prominent place in our lives. Imagine for a moment that the prime minister, highest government official, or President of your country announced he was going to take supper at your home next Monday and you had the time to prepare for his visit to your home, what would you do? I imagine you'd clean up the place, buy a few luxurious delicacies, and then ensure the nicest of meals was placed before him that night. Why? You want to show him honor or regard for his position. When we appreciate the position of Christ in our lives, we are acknowledging he holds the most prominent and influential position.
- Awe. Would you have equate respect with awe? It came as a little bit of a surprise to find this in the list of synonyms, but it is listed as the second! When I saw the opposite of awe as none other than apathy, it became clear to me why awe made it to the list for expressing respect. The opposite of apathy is passion, emotional investment, and excitement. Respecting the Lord brings into our lives a certain passion - because we begin to pour ourselves into the pursuit of the good things he calls us into. At first, the relationship is definitely one of what we can imagine we will "get out of it", but in time, the relationship begins to turn to what we can "give back into it". We move from a place of "bless me, God" to a place of "God, make me a blessing". In essence, we are moving into a place of passion and excitement - a place where God can begin to use us. There is no greater honor or respect we can give him than to be of use to him in his kingdom!
- Recognition. At first, I thought this just had to do with giving him the right place in our lives - like we give recognition to the one who wins the race, or plays the lead in a play. It carries a much deeper meaning, though. The idea is that of giving admittance to so that we might learn to understand his ways and his movements. Whenever we let someone into our lives, isn't one of the things we do in the course of time is become more familiar with how they act, what they mean when they say something, etc.? In much the same way, recognition of God's activity in and around us is a way of showing him respect. It is us noticing him which begins many a great work within us. Just sayin!