When I was about 13 years old, everything in my life changed.
At about that point, we moved from Jacksonville, Florida to northeast Alabama. By necessity, I began the process of becoming a true southerner. I quickly acquired a southern drawl and picked which in-state college football team I would support for the rest of my life. These two decisions helped me to avoid future conflict as an adolescent.
Then I had to learn how to correctly speak and interpret the “bless your heart” southern phrase. You can change out the pronoun to his, her, or their to make it fit. But make no mistake about it, this is a complicated phrase.
What’s so complicated? Slightly changing the tone, and or volume in which it is spoken can drastically change the meaning. If you don’t know, maybe this four-minute video can help you get a handle on this quirky behavior.
Christians also have a learned behavior which is much easier to understand. We are taught repeatedly throughout Scripture to bless God. “Bless the Lord” even comes across like a command by the Psalmist David in Psalm 103.
But, how is it even possible for a believer to bless the Lord?
A sincere believer asked me about that last fall. He shared that it’s difficult to “bless” the Creator Who is Supreme and Sovereign. I understood his theological quandary because I also appreciate the greatness of God.
The WHY can be explained like this: We bless God by command and out of gratitude. Intuitively, those who are “in Christ” know it is the right thing to do, and there’s a certain sense of joy that comes from doing the right thing.
The HOW can be explained like this: We “bless the Lord” with vocal praises that focus on His character and His works. In short, we verbally extol His nature and give Him thanks for His actions on our behalf.
I’m restraining myself from listing the dozen Scripture references that quickly come to mind.
It’s been my experience that Pentecostals appear to have a better handle on this practice of blessing the Lord than many of our non-Pentecostal Protestant Church family. It’s a built-in expectation of our worship services. As a matter of my experience, I know many who do not even feel as though they’ve “had church” unless there were vocal expressions of blessing the Lord.
When I intentionally “bless the Lord” I remind myself how big and how good God is and always has been to me. It does nothing to increase His character. It does solidify my soul to be reminded that God is able, faithful, holy, etc.
When I bless God, I am magnifying Him within the battlefield of my mind so that I can have the biblical perspective that He is bigger than any poor and puny issue I’m facing. And quite often, I “bless the Lord” by sacrifice and works of faith until I find myself through the valley of current experience.
What is the best way to bless your heart? The most blessed way to bless your heart is to take the focus off of yourself and place it all on God. Bless your heart by blessing the Lord!
When you set your mind to bless the Lord, you will end up blessing your own heart!
So, if you really want to bless your heart, try blessing the Lord with all you have. Soon, you’ll be on your way to better heart health.
Christian, have you ever struggled with what it means to “bless” the Lord?
Are you in the know on this whole bless your heart phrasing of southerners? Is it merely a southern thing? Here’s a minute long funny video about it.