Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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When God’s Blessings Are Conditional

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/9O1oQ9SzQZQ

We all want favorable blessings in life. But do we wait patiently and meet God’s conditions for them?

Throughout many life events and issues, we want or hope for certain outcomes. Some of those include pursuing a promotion, getting a better job, finding a girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse, buying a house or car or making investments in the financial markets. Granted, all of these can be potentially beneficial and fulfilling; however, the way we approach them distinguishes the difference between a positive (blessing) and negative (curse) outcome.

If we are wise, we ask for God’s guidance and provision, seek counsel from wise and qualified sources, conduct extensive research and due diligence, look for red flags as well as the best fit for our lives and then wait until the best outcome presents itself.

Then there are those times when we get impatient, take shortcuts and let our hearts overrule our heads:

  • Impatiently changing jobs before conducting an appropriate amount of research on the new company – only to find it is an organizational disaster. The impatient desire for the “greener pastures” places us in a financially risky situation … and jeopardizes our career and reputation.
  • Getting prematurely attached to a boyfriend/girlfriend before confirming spiritual, intellectual, emotional or physical compatibilities – resulting in unfulfilled or volatile relationships, or worse, getting derailed from God’s perfect will. The uncontrolled relational desperation makes us vulnerable to poor choices … with possible lifelong implications.
  • Hurriedly buying that “dream home” before it goes off the market – only to find it was overpriced, the demographics are undesirable and it is a perpetual money pit. Our haste resulted in an investment loss that may take years to overcome … if ever.
  • Jumping at the chance to “make a million” based on a financial tip without researching the validity of the investment – only to find the person unqualified, the investment firm unreliable and our finances lost. The lack of due diligence and attention to detail resulted in watching hard-earned money circling the proverbial drain.

When I’ve made similar hasty or reckless decisions, the outcome has been regret, heartbreak and loss. And yet, I still fight my impatience and low tolerance by waiting on God to provide my needs. Quite often I need reminding that maybe He doesn’t provide what I think I need because I may not be ready to receive it, it may not be in my best interests or He has something much better for me at a later date. Still the impatience for personal desires burns within.

That’s what happens when we set our hearts on anything prior to, or even while, seeking God’s will. In all honesty, when we come to God with uncontrolled desires, we are not truly seeking His will. Rather, we are asking for His acceptance of our desires. The Apostle James called such overwhelming desires or cravings as lusts (James 4:2-3).

Of course, we readily admit that lust is bad and mistakenly think that only disgusting perverts lust after things or people. But what about our own unrestrained desires? What about those choices we make without seeking God’s will or without trusting Him to grant our requests?

When we want something so passionately that we do not wait on God, seek His best for us and trust His provision in His time, how is that anything other than our own lust?

Then, when our poor choices result in disappointment, regret and loss, we are tempted to ask God for His assistance. We are misguided if we think He is obligated to bless or protect us when we’ve ignored His Word, sped through His stop signs and downplayed His Spirit’s promptings to slow down, wait on Him, trust His providence and believe that His best always surpasses our greatest attempts.

Nothing in Scripture encourages us to “do your own thing if you don’t immediately hear from God.” As a matter of fact, I’ve found that when I get in a hurry, grow impatient, and drive smack into one of life’s potholes, God does not immediately rush to my aid, pull me out of trouble, and grant the blessings I think I deserve. No. In all reality, the opposite is true.

See, God’s blessings are not guaranteed, they are conditional.

He remains unchanged in the face of our misguided pleas. Repeatedly in Scripture, we find God’s conditional “if” and “then” scenarios that lead to optional outcomes.

  • If we wait, then God provides. (Psalm 27:14; Psalm 37:7; Isaiah 40:31)
  • If we trust, then God directs. (Psalm 25:1-3; Psalm 62:8; Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • If we commit, then God establishes. (Proverbs 16:3; Psalm 37:5; Psalm 90:17)
  • If we obey, then God blesses. (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:12; I Chronicles 28:7; Psalm 25:10)
  • If we delight in Him, then God grants His favor. (Psalm 37:4; Psalm 84:11; Psalm 112:1)
  • If we endure, then God will reward. (Galatians 6:9; James 1:12)

Deuteronomy 28 gives a perfect example of God’s conditional blessings and curses. The first 14 verses outline His blessings for those who hear, obey and follow Him. However, the remaining 54 verses intimately reveal not only God withholding His blessings, but also proclaiming His curses for those who reject Him and follow their own ways and desires. We simply cannot play God’s game by our rules.

The choice seems clear to me. As my loving Father, God wants only the best for me. He has already seen the outcome of my life choices and can orchestrate much better things than I can. My goal should be that my daily choices and decisions will align with what Joshua said: “As for me and my house, we will serve (seek, follow, obey) the LORD” (Joshua 24:15, parentheses added).

Father God, thank you for knowing me better than I know myself. Please quiet all my desires – but fan the flame of  the one passionate desire to honor You and pursue Your perfect will. Help me to patiently wait and implicitly trust You to give me specifically what or who I need at exactly the precise moment of my need. Amen.

About Nate Stevens

A missionary kid raised in a Christian home and church, Nate Stevens is a lifelong student of Scripture. He has enjoyed a 36-year banking career in a variety of leadership roles. He is the author of "Matched 4 Life," "Matched 4 Life Workbook," "Deck Time with Jesus," and contributes to the Moments book series (Divine Moments, Spoken Moments, Stupid Moments, etc.). He co-leads a singles ministry in the Charlotte, NC area and is a popular speaker / teacher at conferences, seminars and Bible study groups, speaking on a wide variety of topics. Nate currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, is a newlywed to his beautiful wife, Karen, and is an active dad with two awesome kids, Melissa and Mitchell.
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