I think most any of us would like to see God bless us. In fact there are times when we feel like we are experiencing just the opposite of blessing rather we face challenge after challenge. Before going too far we must realize there are times when challenge is brought into our lives to help develop us into the person we have been created to be. Struggle and challenge in our lives is not directly connected with sin, or lack of faith. Sometimes we just go through tough times. There are other times when our actions of lack their of do bring consequences we see as a struggle or challenge.
You do not have to look very hard of far to find a preacher on the TV or the Internet who offers the promise if we simply give our lives to Christ everything will be okay. That might not be the exact quote, however it is pretty close to the idea presented. Perhaps all of you are better followers of Jesus than I am, yet this is not the journey I have found with Christ. Following Jesus is hard to do. After all it would appear if we are to follow Jesus we must be transformed from who we have always been. No longer do we get to decide what is best and right, we are given the call of Christ to follow him. The result of this challenge in my life is often disobedience. What an old fashion word, obedience. God calls to us and gives us direction and hope, and the call looks difficult and filled with situations we do not want any part of. So we decide to modify the call a little to fit our view of the world. We expect the blessing of God to be exactly the same even if we have tweaked the plan a little. We expect even if we are disobedient, God will shower us with blessing just the same.
Another way of looking it this is to say we want all the reward without the effort. I love watching college football, and we are coming to the time of year when the national champion will be rising to the top. In early January one team will be crowned the champion, and a player on the team will more than likely be deemed the hero of the game and season. This person will be hoisted up on shoulders and be on the cover of magazines. That shoulder top ride did not come without a price. There was a consistent obedience over a long period of time which resulted in the great blessing. On our journey with Christ we often want the shoulder top ride without the effort it takes to get there. We want the blessing without obedience. Simply we expect God to bless us even if we follow our own understanding and desires more than the understanding and desires of God.
I am not saying if you are facing struggle right now it is the result of disobedience. What I am saying is you have an opportunity to work toward the blessing by how you respond to the struggle you are in. I have spent a large amount of time lately thinking about what it would look like if a group of people called the church began to live in radical obedience to God. What would happen if the people of God began to consistently be obedient to the call of God? Would there still be hunger? Would there still be poverty? The sick? The imprisoned? Children killed? Disease? Injustice? The blessing we receive from obedience is not always a personal blessing, it is a blessing to the people that we are a part of. What's in it for me is not the question of a follower of Christ. What must I do to follow God is the question.
We all seek the blessing of God. For some the vision of blessing is a little different than others. Still most of the time we want the maximum blessing with minimal effort. In reality it is not about amount of effort it is about obedience. We cannot and will not experience the blessing of God if we refuse to be obedient.