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I'm Blessed and Guilty
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Believe it or not, some people have few significant trials and see themselves as so blessed by God that it makes them feel guilty!

These people have worked hard and made good decisions; now they enjoy the rewards. They are healthy, they have solid relationships, their finances are sound, they are generous with their means and they enjoy life. But because they had Christ’s compassion, it’s hard when they see people around them bombarded with one bad thing after another. That’s where a measure of guilt comes in.

You might laugh and say, “I’m ready for that kind of guilt any time.” But let’s get something straight. God is interested in our happiness, not in our misery. He’s in the joy business.

Psalm 4 tells us God “sets apart the godly for himself.” He sends the light of His face upon us. He provides relief in our trials, and lets us lie down and sleep in peace. Is this the God you know? If not, is this the God you’d like to know?

Here’s another promise: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Psalm 92:12-14).

In ancient times a man named Jabez looked out on his world and didn’t like it. Too much pain, heaps of trouble. He was sorely aware his own name meant “grief and sorrow.” So he cried out to God, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” What a prayer! So selfish—he should feel guilty for praying like this, right? But look at the story’s punch line: “And God granted his request.” (See 1 Chronicles 4:9-10).

John testifies, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). John writes to a friend, “I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you” (III John 2).  This is an appropriate prayer. We may ask God for good times, for success, for one blessing after another. And not feel guilty about it.

Prosperity Gospel

It’s true we must avoid “the prosperity gospel.” That’s the blessing of God twisted into avoiding Earth’s pain, the belief that Christians deserve wealth and success. It’s the misconception that we have a right to amass riches merely for our comfort, and that our blessings make us a bit higher and better than those who suffer and those who are poor. The word of God condemns such belief.

Jabez did not pray only for freedom from pain. He prayed for “the hand of God” to accompany him, so that as his influence extended, he could be the hand of God in healthy blessing for the world. Jesus stated the “hand” principle nicely: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).

King David relished times of prosperity. “You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:5-6). No sign of guilt here, just a heart full of joy for God’s blessings—and eagerness to share his blessings in service.

Do you want God’s extreme favor in your life? Here’s an important part of the deal: obedience to His will. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). God cannot bless continued evil or carelessness—though His mercy and patience are amazing. If you want abundant health, for example, you might need to get off the couch! Ask God to show you the things in your life that need to change, so that you will not restrict heaven’s blessing.

And when His favor comes, there’s no need to spoil it with guilt.

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By Ed Gallagher. Reprinted with permission from Mid-America Outlook Magazine, Vol. 28, #2. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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