Rejoice in the blessings you have
While the world rumbles along in an ever-decreasing trajectory of discontentment, ignoring God’s daily provisions, this is NOT true of God’s children. A hymn often sung in my childhood Church was “Count your blessings” composed in 1897 by Johnson Oatman. I was privileged to grow up in a small rural community, and in a family that celebrated what God had gifted us with more than complain about or envy the things we didn’t have (Mk 7:22). My parents understood that God’s graces are incalculable, beyond comparison, and we were to be thankful.
Sadly, when people exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25), they become self-centred, discontented, and ungrateful towards God. They say to God, Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. 15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’ (Job 21:14-15).
Whereas believers in the Lord rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house… (Deuteronomy 26:11). The heart attitude is different because the heart relationship is different. On one hand, disbelief, or artificial belief, swallows all negative information thrown against God. But believers delight greatly in the Lord… (Isaiah 61:10).
In Joshua 23:14, just before Joshua died, he addressed Israel, reminding them of God’s faithfulness. “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Like Joshua, I’m sure that Johnson Oatman had God’s faithfulness in mind when he composed…
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
While faith feels the realities of life, it also sees God in life and counts out the blessings He gives. Even through the darkest times, faith is first and foremost grateful for spiritual realities and the security of eternal life. Second, faith recognises God’s kind provisions regardless of the surrounding circumstances, and says, ‘thank you.’
This is because believers know they have been justified by faith, (therefore) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). As Jesus stated, peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives… (John 14:27). As believers, we are to let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Colossians 3:15). Two things are unmistakable of those declared innocent by God; they have peace from God, and they worship God. When sinners receive peace through Christ, worship follows, fuelled by gratitude for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).
The point is this, keeping our minds and affections firmly attached to the Lord Jesus Christ is critical if we hope to rise above the struggles of life and maintain a truly thankful attitude. To KNOW Christ is peace and joy, but to have NO Christ is disillusionment and ends only in despair and condemnation.
Therefore, give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chronicles 16:8-11).