Monday Morning Devotion-October 21, 2019
So, God created man in his own image, the image of God He created him, male and female He created them. God blessed them°. Genesis 1: 27, 28 (a).
In ancient Greek mythology there is a legend about a labyrinth that was inescapable. Those who entered never exited for within that maze there was a minotaur, a fearsome creature that was half man, half bull.
Then along came Theseus, the Prince of Athens, who learned of the practice of sending young children into the labyrinth as a sacrifice to appease the minotaur. He volunteered to go instead.
Princess Ariadne had fallen in love with Theseus and feared for his safety. She gave him a sword to slay the minotaur with but then there was a problem of finding his way back out.
In modern times we refer to a labyrinth as a maze. It has one entrance and crisscrossing paths that make it difficult to find one's way to the center, then find their way back out.
So, Ariadne also gave Theseus a ball of heavy duty thread. As he entered the labyrinth he tied one end of the ball of thread to the entrance and unwound it as he walked. When he had slain the mighty minotaur, he was able to follow the thread's trail safely back to the entrance.
I heard this story in a sermon by Dr. Mark Batterson, pastor and author of many books that I have read over the years. He told the story to make this point:
"Life is a labyrinth. It's full of relational twists and occupational turns that we did not see coming. We zig through big decisions. We zag through bad decisions. There are situations we get ourselves into that we do not know how to get ourselves out of and we all encounter some minotaurs along the way.
Now just like any good author who heads up a large church that now has seven campuses would do, Batterson lets it be known that he is building up readership for his latest book called
"Double Blessings" which is coming out this week.
Batterson says that to find our way out of this labyrinth of twists and turns of problems and bad decisions we have zig-zagged our way into we must follow the ball of thread back to the beginning.
He says when we do that°go all the way back to the beginning where original sin came into God's creation we will find that before there was original sin, there was original blessing.
In Genesis 1:27 we read about God creating man and woman and then at the start of verse 28 we read these words: "Then God blessed them°"
Before original sin there was original blessing. From the beginning we were blessed. Batterson points out that fact is very important because when we look in the mirror we see a person who was made in the image of God. And we see a person who was blessed, not cursed.
Batterson says that at his National Community Church their core value is that "you are invaluable and irreplaceable" and that traces back to this fundamental fact that you are in the image of the Almighty God.
CS Lewis in "The Weight of Glory" wrote: "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. The dullest, most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which if you saw it now you would strongly be tempted to worship."
Why is it significant that original blessing came first? Batterson says: "Because if we doubt original blessing, we second guess the goodness of God and we relate to God for all the wrong reasons. Blessing is God's most ancient instinct. Blessing is God's first and foremost reflex. Blessing is God's default setting."
"Now God won't bless disobedience. God's not gonna bless pride or greed or laziness; he loves us too much to do that. Following Ariadne's thread back to the beginning and the original blessing, we see that blessing sets the tone for Adam and Eve. Blessing sets the table. Blessing establishes the emotional baseline and spiritual trend of Adam's entire existence. But, yes sin enters the equation. Dysfunction, pain, imperfection come into play, but none of that changes the fact that we are the image of all mighty God, that we are blessed by God himself."
We have talked about what blessing is. So, what is it not? First, blessing is not good luck. It isn't winning the lottery. God doesn't bless us to raise our standard of living. God blesses us to raise our standard of giving.
Second, blessing is not health, wealth and prosperity. Now those things can be a byproduct of God's blessing, but we devalue the blessing of God when we think of it in material terms. The blessing of God is things you can't put a price tag on. It's joy unspeakable. It's peace that passes understanding.
Number three, blessing is not zero gravity, ie. Blessing is not no problems., that's impossible. Jesus said in this world you will have trouble. Gratefully it doesn't end there. He adds: "Take heart, I have overcome the world. You will walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Grieve. Hurt. Life is not fair. But God is good, and His grace is sufficient.
The blessings of God will complicate your life. Sin complicates your life in a way that it should not be complicated, but the blessings of God will complicate your life in a way that it should be complicated.
Jesus lead a perfect life and blessed many with his presence, healing and wisdom. Yet one of his disciples betrayed in him for 30 pieces of silver. In today's currency a shekel is worth 72 cents apiece. Judas betrayed our Savior for $21.60. For that paltry amount Jesus was crucified on the cross. That is where self-worth comes from. It's where our blessings and our confidence come from. What Jesus was willing to do so that we could experience His blessing.
His sacrifice tells us that God wants to bless each of us beyond our ability to ask or to imagine.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for original blessing that preceded original sin so that we might be forgiven for all our imperfections. Amen!