Jim Cymbala on Why Sometimes a Blessing Becomes a Curse, and How to Have a Heart that God Cannot Resist

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"The problem was, God was speaking but nobody was listening," the Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastor Jim Cymbala wrote in the first chapter of his fourth book The Life that God Blesses pertaining to a popular televangelist's downfall. He titled the chapter "The Man Who Wouldn't Listen" and talked about why not listening to God's voice of correction and direction, can turn things out of control. "Things went from bad to worse, which is what usually happens when people turn their backs on God," he continued on the next pages.

Pastor Cymbala believed that in order to live a life that is pleasing to God, one must get in tune with what pleases Him. He detailed that there's a certain kind of heart that God seeks and that He long to bless. One of the traits the Lord delights in, is a listening heart, a heart that wants to hear what the Alpha and Omega is saying, and a heart that not only listen but most importantly, obey.

"The truth is, no matter how deep our sin is, no matter how far we have fallen, there is still hope if we will just listen to what God is saying. It is when we get so full of ourselves and too busy to stop and listen that we cut ourselves off from the one true Friend who can help us. Our shallowness and self-centeredness make us deaf to words that would bring healing and spiritual life."

Like listening, another quality that help us align ourselves with His purposes and makes room for more blessing in our life is imitation. Imitation as they usually say, is the highest form of flattery. And to imitate God means to strive to be forgiving, merciful and full of kindness. This also mean that you should exercise tenderness, be sensitive to His Word and an openness to His will concerning your life.

Aside from these, one should definitely live a prayerful life and a heart that waits. "You do not have, because you do not ask God," wrote the apostle James emphasizing the need for us to look up and pray to God. Prayer, as they say is our most valuable tool in times of need. But prayer shouldn't be made just for the sake of asking God for something, it should be our means to communicate with the Almighty. After prayer, the most crucial part is waiting. One should learn to wait, to trust God and have faith that He wants the best for us.

"The secret is to have a heart that waits on the Lord, to keep waiting in faith and glad expectation for the things he has promised... The challenge before us is to have faith in God, and the hardest part of faith is the waiting."

All these traits (adopted from the Bible, mostly from the Old Testament) seem to please God in such a way that he shower blessing to people with this special kind of heart. Albeit a blessing is generally good, there can be instances where it becomes a curse. Cymbala's eloquent writing says it all: "As time goes by, God's favor fills their lives with many good things. But they allow the blessings of God to turn their eyes away from the Giver; they become preoccupied with the gifts. Soon their tenderness of heart vanishes. They don't have time for God. They become filled with themselves and lose that special touch of God on their life together... How we respond to the Lord's blessings makes all the difference. The blessings can either humble us and draw us closer to God, or they can lift us up and allow our hearts to become full of pride and self-sufficiency."

The safest way to not love the gifts more than the Giver, Pastor Jim suggests, is to constantly seek God's help and approval above all other things and to humble our hearts. "Just as pride drives away the blessings of heaven and precedes certain failure, a humble heart is like a magnet that draws the favor of God toward us."

The Life that God Blesses is a compelling book that I would personally recommend. Compliment it with The Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warren or you can read my post about it here.

P.S. Got questions? Connect with me on Twitter & Instagram -> @gizandcheese

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