Written by: Ryan and Ashlie Cook.
The concept of a blessing has largely been lost on our current culture. It was very prevalent back in ancient times and was even something to be fought over...it was that important! Remember the story of Jacob and Esau. The younger brother, Jacob, conspired with his mother to steal “the blessing” from his father that should have gone to the older brother, Esau. It was so controversial that Jacob had to flee for fear of death and didn’t see his brother for years.
Blessing in the Beginning
The blessing is something that has been practiced since our first parents were created. In the garden God ‘blessed’ Adam and Eve. He breathed life into them and then spoke words of life over them. It’s important to note that God blessed Adam and Eve BEFORE they had done anything to earn the blessing. The blessing comes as a result of our position and identity, not based on our activity.
Think of it this way, for those of you who have children, you most likely spoke words of love and encouragement and life over your new-born baby. You did this BEFORE they could even walk, or crawl, or catch a pass, or hit a ball, or anything. You blessed them simply because they were your child. Their position and identity was already established apart from their works.
Last week we focused on unconditional love; that we made the commitment to love our spouse unconditionally in the covenant of marriage. As a result of that commitment we are to bless our spouse because of their identity and position as our beloved and not based on their performance.
Power of a Blessing
Chapter 7 of Two Becoming One focuses on Love and Blessing. Faith Principle #4: By faith, we must submit to the only active and reactive biblical forces for change in marriage: agape love and blessing. So we are called to actively love our spouse and then react to them with blessing.
Now this is where you really have to walk by faith and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. In the midst of an argument or tense exchange the LAST thing anyone wants to do is ‘bless’ the person who is pushing them. Remember Isaiah 55:8, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you’re your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
Let’s play this out logically, and I am sure you have plenty of examples, when you were in an argument with your spouse and the insults were flying. On page 93 in Two Becoming One, we review the difference between the Insult and Blessing Cycles. When you return an insult for an insult there is one inevitably conclusion – hurt, division, wounding, and more insults.
However, if you choose to offer a blessing in the midst of your argument, there can be a different outcome. By offering a blessing there is the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in the heart of your spouse. If you continue this practice at some point, and it may take a while, conviction can lead to repentance and restoration and a returned blessing from your spouse.
How to Bless
So here are some practical steps to take if you really want to engage in the reactive force of blessing. All of these things come right out of the book and are found on page 95.
1.) Remove any sin in your own life. Make sure to ask the Lord if there’s anything you did to provoke your spouse. Humility and repentance are powerful tools for pursuing oneness. It usually takes two to tango, so don’t assume you are completely innocent. Ask the Lord and He will show you.
2.) Return a blessing. Just to be clear, a blessing can look a couple different ways. It is offering praise, encouragement, honor, gratefulness, or favor to someone. So it can be as simple as “I am thankful you are my spouse.” Other examples “You’re a great Mom (or Dad),” “I know we will figure this out because I trust you’re walk with the Lord.” There are lots of other phrases that fit in the blessing category. Each one is like pouring water on the flame of division and allowing oneness to rise up.
3.) Commit yourself and your situation to the Lord. At His crucifixion Jesus turned to the Father for help and strength. Through prayer we are invited to do the same now. It is the Lord who changes hearts and He hears our prayers. He can offer patience and endurance while the work goes on in your spouse’s heart and spirit.
4.) Be willing to suffer. Oh yeah, we had to go there. This is not easy and you might even feel foolish for doing it. Remember Jesus on the cross and the appearance of failure at His death. Yet at the exact same moment He was victorious over sin and death itself. Our flesh wants to defend ourselves and get back at the other person. However, real lasting results will only come through faith-love and blessing.
“How do you change your spouse? Apply the active force of agape love. When wronged, apply the reactive force of love, which is the act of blessing. Neither of these come easy to us, in fact they conflict with our normal human nature. That is why faith is necessary. Faith occurs when you override your human instinct by acting on God’s Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit. By faith, you can change to better reflect Jesus. By faith, your spouse will change as well!"Two Becoming One, pg. 96.
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