A few years ago, I was given a necklace by some friends of mine. It was a gorgeous mint colored necklace with a cubic zirconium lined pendant. Inside, the charm had the word "blessed" written in faux calligraphy. My friends knew how much I loved pretty costume jewelry and how much I loved all things related to Jesus. A pretty, perfect gift. Except that I struggled with the word blessed. I struggled with having something around my neck that seemed to brag about how wonderful my life is.

The word "blessed" has lost its meaning over the past few millennia. It has morphed into a hashtag, tagline, or a way of exclaiming how great your life is to the world.

"My son scored two goals in today's soccer game; we are blessed."

"In and out of Costco on Saturday in under 30 minutes. #blessed."

"Just reached 300 followers. I'm so blessed."

Please hear me when I say it is not wrong to celebrate God's gifts. Being grateful is a wonderful way to worship.

But the word blessed is a whole different animal. Its true definition is made holy or consecrated. Set apart from the world. And if you are like me, you struggle to make the connection between holiness and having a really nice car or being sanctified when our children are well behaved. #Blessed has nothing to do with what we have or don't have. Instead, it's the posture of our heart.

In Matthew 5, Jesus' sermon on the mount, he describes who is deemed blessed: 

The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful…theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 "Contrary to what the world would say, Jesus describes the abundant life as the life lived in humility." - Jen Wilkin*

A blessed status is gained through a relationship with Jesus. When you set down your "accomplishments," earned or given, you are free to hold the gift of Grace. But it comes at a cost. It also means you carry suffering, brokenness, pain, and humility right next to your heart, just as our Savior does. This is what it truly means to be blessed.

I wear my necklace now with confidence. I'm not ashamed to brag about my label. I walk proudly because of who He is, and He calls me blessed.

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. - ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:14‬ ‬

  1. Own your identity in Christ. Whatever it takes to remember your worth comes from Him alone.
  2. Share with others. In those valley moments, share the ways God is ministering to your soul. It's easy to feel blessed in the good times. Open up about the ways you are satisfied by Him in the not so good times.
  3. Pick a beatitude. Find a beatitude that resonates with you for a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Then take time to pray or journal through how God is sanctifying you in that particular area.

*In His Image, Page 90.


JL McCarthy

September 15, 2020