It’s easy to receive an easy message—one we want to hear—one that allows us to settle back in our comfortable seats. But occasionally we hear a message that shakes us up—a message that challenges our comfortable thinking.
Author Troy Dobbs, Senior Pastor at Grace Church of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, confronts the wildly popular prosperity gospel—that God promises health and wealth—which has gained a foothold in the world today. He unpacks the profound message from Jesus that will make you think and rethink . . . and maybe even change your mind about what a blessed life really means.
The Blessed Life, that no one really wants, unpacks a timeless message that is as relevant today as when it was first spoken on a mountain, over 2000 years ago.
Hardcover with dust jacket, 112 pages
“Troy Dobbs’ ability to unpack the Gospel is elite. This book really motivates you to a closer walk with God. It brings basic principles to life in an inspirational and impactful way. Simple yet profound wisdom – you will finish reading it encouraged and empowered.” – Ritchie McKay, Liberty University
Having been challenged and encouraged by the preaching of Pastor Troy Dobbs for years, I was very much looking forward to reading The Blessed Life that no one really wants. I was hoping that his gift for taking the complex, pulling out the main point and breaking it down into very understandable terms would translate well from pulpit to print and it certainly did! In addition, his ability to urge listeners past head knowledge to practical application is also evident throughout both his preaching and this book. I repeatedly found myself stopping to consider his insight into this well known passage, rereading paragraphs and allowing the Holy Spirit saturated thoughts to resonate more deeply in my soul. I anticipate this being one of those books I go back to time and time again and share with others. The jacket bio says that he still has a pretty good jump shot. Pastor Dobbs definitely hits the mark from deep with The Blessed Life!
Troy gives us a no non-sense biblical look at the Beatitudes. I love how he approaches Scripture with honest and counter-cultural insights and questions. Troy helps us understand that an honest look at Scripture shows us the most blessed life may not be one of health, fame, renown, admiration, or wealth, but the most blessed life is found in our complete and total reliance in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Our complete surrender to Christ and the life He has for us is truly The Blessed Life.
This book highlights a profound and puzzling fact about God's blessing. We would like it to work like karma, where we act Godly and God shows his pleasure by giving us a good life: wealth, status, health. Yet everyone suffers, including Christians, which causes a lot of us to question our faith and God's plan. This book tries to help us understand God's plan, and important but always incomplete task. We will never know God's purpose for our particular troubles or suffering in general because the creator of this universe is simply beyond our comprehension. It would be as if my dog could understand me ('my ways are higher than your ways'). We can, however, know our purpose, what our God wants from us, which removes angst and gives us a sense of profound peace. God's blessing starts with the fear of the Lord, understanding how wretched and hopeless we are. This is necessary but not sufficient, in that some may turn to nihilism or vengeful wrath, as when Mephistopheles, in Goethe's Faust, says 'everything that exists deserves to perish.' For those of us who are pleased by this understanding, however, the next step is wanting to glorify God by accepting Jesus as our Lord and savior. The fact that our salvation comes by the grace of God through our faith is profoundly nonintuitive and unique to Christianity. It implies humility--we did nothing to earn it--and most importantly, gratitude and hope. It says nothing about prosperity on earth, and given the fact that most of the apostles were executed, we know that righteous men are not immune to suffering. Dobbs does not mention this, but I would add that Christians should not expect extra suffering or poverty in their lives. No worldview that led to additional pain and poverty would sustain itself over generations, and indeed Christians do well on this earth, statistically. However, it is good to remember that if God's blessing generated an utterly predictable reward on this earth, people would be 'Godly' out of prudence, not love, and God is focused on our hearts, what we most want. Scrupulous righteousness of this sort leads to a pharisaical focus on the letter of the law, and deprioritizes the ultimate goal: love God with all your heart. Thus while Christianity is consistent with individual and social flourishing, it must also be compatible with suffering. Back to Dobbs' message, a Christian should take solace in the fact that regardless of their circumstances, all they need is to want to please God. This sounds almost too easy, a mere disposition, but we must remember that Christain virtues evidence faith, so one who shamelessly sins, or shows no fruit of the spirit, would be like one who says they love their daughter but then never helps her out. A wise and righteous man works humbly to please and glorify God. They see their faith as not only true, but also an unearned gift, which generates joy out of gratitude. That does not mean we shouldn't be indifferent to suffering or not want prosperity, but have it in perspective.
I found this study of the Beatitudes to give me fresh eyes for reading and understanding them. It also helped me to look at what it truly means to have a blessed life. It strips away all of the "things" that we so often consider to be blessings and gets to the heart of true blessings.