Someone sneezes and we say, “Bless you.” We don’t use the word “bless” a lot in our contemporary, secular culture, mainly just when people sneeze. In religious circles it gets more use. I got to thinking about this word “bless” and how it can be applied in four ways. God can bless us, we can bless God, we can bless others, and others can bless us. I’d like to suggest that making these four forms of “bless” operative in our lives can make them full lives.
GOD BLESSES US
The dictionary defines “bless” as bestowing good on someone. God does that with us. I know, there’s a lot that’s not good in life; this is a fallen and broken world, after all. Still, God’s ultimately in control and He can even have good come out of bad. It’s good to affirm that God blesses us. If we find it difficult to affirm God’s blessings, then it’s a warning we need an attitude adjustment.
WE BLESS GOD
The most intriguing to me of the four uses of “bless” is when we “bless the Lord.” The phrase is found quite a few times in the Bible (21 times in the English Standard Version). How can we bless God? After all, He is self-sufficient and needs nothing from anybody. The dictionary says to bless means to make or pronounce holy. We can’t make God holy, He’s as holy as holy gets. But we can pronounce Him holy, that is, agree with the idea. So, yes, we can “bless the Lord” by just affirming He’s the best!
WE BLESS OTHERS
One of the key ways to find meaning and purpose in life is to “bestow good on others” as the dictionary defines blessing. It’s far better for people to feel we’re a blessing rather than a curse in their lives, right? For sure! Another way to look at it is that we can be a channel for God blessing those around us!
OTHERS BLESS US
Oftentimes it’s easier to offer help than it is to ask for help. But one way people connect with us is by realizing that they can contribute to our well being. We also come across as more humble when we’re willing to accept help, or even ask for help, and this endears us to people. People feel valued when we value their help.
Our life is being lived well when we embrace the four ways of blessing. God blesses us, we bless God, we bless others, and others bless us; it’s the way to live a blessed life!
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” Psalm 103:1 (English Standard Version)