A gospel song that we often sing encourages us to count our blessings. But, just what is it that I am counting? The Greek word blessing is defined as: “a benefit bestowed" (Vine's). A secular dictionary expands this definition to “a favor or gift bestowed by God” (Random House). Another dictionary defines the word as “something promoting or contributing to happiness, well-being, or prosperity” (American Heritage Dictionary). So, these blessings are gifts from God intended for our benefit to promote our happiness and well-being.
When should I count my blessings? “When upon life’s billows (great surging waves) you are tempest tossed (by the storms of life), When you are discouraged thinking all is lost…When you are burdened with loads and cares, When the cross seems heavy you are called to bear” (Oatman). The difficult and challenging times of life are when I most need to count my blessings. Doing this is therapeutic for us.
Counting our blessings helps us to see past our present problems and troubles. The Apostle Paul affirmed, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18). And again, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:16-18). This is why we are counseled to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:2).
Counting our blessings enables us to see past ourselves and focus on God, the Blessed Giver (James 1:17), “who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (2 Tim 6:17). Counting our blessings helps us to take stock of how truly blessed we are in Christ (Eph 1:13). Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20). We have been adopted as children into God’s family. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ! (Rom 8:17). This means that, whatever Christ has in heaven will be ours as well! As Paul assured the Corinthian church (and us too), “All things are yours!” And most importantly, you belong to Christ! (1 Cor 3:21-22).
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude for all that God has done for us through Christ will cause us to want to count our blessings often. Genuine gratitude fuels expressions of sincerest thanks. And so, we count our blessings!