Physical and Spiritual Blessings
As Christians today, often when we think about blessings we wrestle with whether we should pursue physical blessings or spiritual blessings. We wonder what those things look like. We need to exercise caution in thinking about God’s blessings in these two separate categories. The reality is that God does bless us materially.
I’ve experienced the anonymous check in the mail during a month that’s thin. We see people healed by things that elude physicians. We don’t know how it happens. Should we pray for those things? Should we go to God with our material needs? Absolutely. Scripture affirms that. We don’t need to be so afraid of God blessing us materially that we’re actually not going to our heavenly Father saying, God, meet my needs.
In this addition to the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, William Osborne traces the theme of blessing throughout the Bible, equipping readers with a fuller understanding of God’s benevolence for everyday life.
The problem is when we dissociate God meeting those needs with our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father. When we think about what it means to experience spiritual blessings, I think about what Paul says in Philippians 4. He focuses not on the word blessing, but he speaks about an important word—especially for those of us North American Christians—which is contentment.
It’s in our relationship with God, as we draw near to Christ, that we embrace and start to learn contentment.
Paul is encouraging us to find contentment, whether we have a lot or whether we don’t. Ultimately, we know that we can experience contentment and satisfaction because I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
It’s in our relationship with God, as we draw near to Christ, that we embrace and start to learn contentment. God’s blessing is not contingent upon whether we live in material wealth or whether we live in material poverty because we can learn to be content through all things.
It’s not as though we’re pursuing spiritual blessings at the expense of the physical, but as we live in the spirit, we can grow to know God’s blessing as we live contented lives, seeking our heavenly Father and asking him to meet our needs as they arise.
William R. Osborne is the author of Divine Blessing and the Fullness of Life in the Presence of God.
Just like themes such as law, sacrifice, and covenant, the theme of blessing must be understood within the full biblical story, if it is to be understood biblically at all.
God’s design has always been for his people to experience the fullness of life in his presence—physically and spiritually.
The most important blessing of the church’s new existence will be its similar experience of the immediate, palpable presence of God.
Perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings concerning the Christian faith is that God is only concerned with “good people.”