By Patricia Miozza, member Exton PA church of Christ
If we consider ourselves to be children of God (having received the gift of salvation after baptism into Christ’s death), let us ask ourselves if our daily walk with God is a reflection of the gratitude
we should feel and express to Him?
Psalm 103: 1-5 reads, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” We often thank God for our blessings, as we should; a familiar hymn may come to mind: “count your many blessings; name them one by one.” But with this Psalm, we see that WE are to bless the LORD. What does it mean to “bless the LORD”? “To bless”, is an exclamation of gratitude and admiration but it is not limited to this. In other words, does blessing the LORD mean only to
express so verbally? Another sense of the word bless is to make happy. Is God happy with us if our daily walk, in the things we do and say, are not in harmony with His will?
We can take comfort in the scripture that tells us we are saved by grace (Eph 2: 5-10) but this does not negate the fact that we shall all appear before God in the day of judgement and give an account of what we have done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10). We need to strive, in our daily walk, to be pleasing to God. 1 John 2: 28-29 states “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him”. The key thoughts here are “abide in Him” and “practice righteousness”. The apostle Paul
implores us in Ephesians 4: 1-3, to walk in a manner worthy of His calling with humility, gentleness, and patience, etc.
Let us deeply consider these next two sets of verses and examine our lives by them. Does our walk in life reflect these verses? Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing us salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” and 1 Peter 1: 13-16 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”.
There can be many distractions in this life that can cause us to lose spiritual focus and many challenges that come our way. If we are not careful, we can forget to set our minds on things above. There are times when we do not handle ourselves in the way we should; we fall short and sin. We can take comfort in knowing that if we sin, we have an advocate with God; Jesus Christ the righteous as is stated in 1 John 2:1, but the verses to follow show us that “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked”. God wants us to be holy for He is holy. If we examine ourselves by the scriptures and find that we fall short, let us not be discouraged but rather let God’s word motivate us to repentance and let us strive to be a blessing to God, not only in word but in deed. We all stumble at times but it is crucial that we do not make a habit of sin but rather “practice” righteousness, because we are His possession.
Psalm 87 is a beautiful Psalm that depicts Zion as the birthplace of the children of God. When we are baptized into Christ, we are born again; we are born in Zion! This world is not our home; we are just sojourners here. Let us always remember that we are citizens of the kingdom of God and let us keep our minds set on things above. Let us love as He loved. Let our daily actions be a reflection of the gratitude we feel for His wonderful gift of salvation! Let our souls truly bless the LORD, in word and in deed!