Count Your Blessings

Another year has come to an end. Those who remain in the flesh are here because God has so determined it. Man’s life is as it is because God has dealt with each “according to the integrity of his heart” (Psalm 7.8,17; 18.20; 62.12).

Life is a blessing from God. Elihu stated, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty giveth me life” (Job 33.4). God purposed to make man in his image (Genesis 1.26-27) and set him over the works of his hands (Genesis 1.28; Hebrews 2.7). These blessings were intended for man even prior to his existence. 

How should man respond to such blessings? David declared the proper response: “I will give thanks unto Jehovah according to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of Jehovah Most High” (Psalm 7.17). David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13.22), stated why this response was in order: “For thou wilt bless the righteous, O Jehovah, thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield” (Psalm 5.12).

God’s concern for every soul is seen in Jesus’ teaching that rain is sent from God upon the just and the unjust (Matthew 5.45). It is for this reason that his disciples show love rather than hate toward their enemies. Christians know the blessing of God’s giving (John 3.16). That is why they are a blessing to others by their giving (Acts 20.35). As Abraham was told to be a blessing (Genesis 12.2), disciples of Christ seek to be a blessing by following him (Matthew 5.13-16). God is glorified by giving in this manner.

Such resolve was made when each decided to follow Jesus. That resolve grows as we assemble regularly, study, sing, and pray together. In this manner, we count our blessings, edifying and strengthening the bond between us — supporting and caring for one another. We are one.

We also remember in the manner that our God remembered. Jehovah dealt kindly and tenderly with Abraham’s seed, remembering “they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away and cometh not again” (Psalm 78.39). We bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.1). 

The ridicule Christians face is also a blessing. Peter and John patiently endured ridicule: “They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name” (Acts 5.41). Peter reassured the sojourners of the elect of two important truths: “For what glory is it, if, when ye sin, and are buffeted for it, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently. This is acceptable with God” (1 Peter 2.20). “If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Peter 4.14).

To those outside of covenant relationship with God through Christ, we plead earnestly to consider the example of Christ as he bore humanity’s sins. The apostle Paul wrote, “Now we that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good, unto edifying. For Christ also pleased not himself, but, as it is written, the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell upon me” (Romans 15.1-3). 

When Jehovah appeared to Abraham, he said, “…I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing” (Genesis 12.2). Christians are blessed for the same purpose: to be a blessing to others. As a new year approaches, resolve to fulfill this blessing from God in your life. Remember these words from one of the many psalms of King David: “The earth is Jehovah’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of Jehovah? And who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto falsehood, and hath not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from Jehovah, and righteousness from the God of his salvation (Psalm 24.1-5).