Do you ever wonder what the blessing of God looks like?
We can sometimes overlook the true blessing of God, because we think it comes in some brilliant flash of light, or with peals of thunder and bolts of lightening. We might be lead by TV preachers to believe that the blessing of God manifests itself in only miraculous cures from disease or the spectacular acquisition of unimaginable wealth.
In reality, the blessing of God comes with few Hollywood-type visual effects. What is more, God’s blessing is manifested in things we might be prone to think of as “natural.” In reality, God’s blessing is His granting of abilities to do things or produce things that are impossible apart from His divine activity in and through His creatures.
In Creation, God blessed plants and animals with the ability to reproduce. (see Gen. 1:11, Gen. 1:24-25) He blessed the animals of the sea and air with the words “be fruitful, and multiply” (in Gen. 1:22). He blessed Mankind with similar words (in Gen. 1:28). He repeated the blessing to Noah and his sons after the flood (see Gen. 9:1, 9:7), and to Abraham when He called him (in Gen. 17:6).
Plums, puppies, and people don’t just happen. They are not the result alone of creatures “doing what comes naturally.” They are all the direct result of the blessing of God.
While we might think that the ability to produce (or reproduce) is “natural,” fruitfulness itself is the blessing of God. Whenever it is seen, He is at work (see Gen. 17:20, Gen. 28:3, Gen. 35:11, Gen. 41:52, Lev. 26:9, Deut. 7:13, Deut. 28:11).
This is true of physical fruitfulness, and it is likewise true of spiritual fruitfulness. While the ability to hear and understand the words of God might be mistaken as natural, they too are the evidence of God’s blessing and His work.
When Jesus taught the parable of the soils to His disciples, He explained that the gospel produces fruit only if it is spread on good soil (see Matt. 13:23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15), that is, if it is given to those who are blessed by God to be fruitful. Where the gospel does not bear fruit, the result is tragic (see Luke 13:6-9, Matt. 7:19, Matt. 3:10, John 15:2).
In Colossians 1, Paul speaks of the faith, love, and hope that God has produced in the believers at Colossae. Then, in verses 5 and 6, he says,
Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, (Col. 1:5b-6, ESV)
Paul had already told them that he was grateful to God for their faith and love, and for the certainty of their hope (in Col. 1:3-5). Now, he tells them that their faith, love, and hope are the fruit of the gospel. When it came to them, God blessed them, making them into the “good soil” that Jesus talked about in His parable. Paul also says that the gospel is producing similar fruit, by the blessing and work of God, in the whole world.
Paul says that the faith, love and hope seen in the Colossians have developed in them “since the day you heard it (the gospel) and understood the grace of God in truth.” In this verse, Paul is stirring up in the Colossians (and in us) an appreciation for the truth that they have been blessed by God to do something that they otherwise could not have done.
If we, like them, have come to hear the gospel of Christ’s redemption, we are blessed by God. If we like them, have come to understand the wonderful working of God’s grace, we are blessed by God. If we have the fruit of that gospel, to even the least degree, and know the faith, the love, and the hope that the gospel implants, then that fruit is entirely due to the blessing of God.
Hollywood may try to convince us that, unless we hear the thunder and see the lightning, God has not worked, but that is simply a lie. If we find ourselves underestimating the miracle of truly hearing the gospel and actually understanding the work of His grace, we have fallen prey to the “father of all lies.”
Faith in Christ, and the genuine love and true hope that result, are the blessing of God. Do we really need anything more to give Him glory and praise and thanks?