Which is better? Are counting the costs and obtaining blessings both necessary? Indeed they are! Trials are essential to our potential for reaching perfection. In order for us to receive the blessings that God promises us, we also need to count the costs and consider trials which we will encounter. This is what we should have been aware of when we answered God’s calling and took the necessary step to become baptized, choosing to live a life pleasing to God. We are to learn and grow so that we don’t keep on stumbling, and when we do, what we have learned is supposed to help us to overcome quickly.
We look around the world and we see many people who appear far more blessed than we are with their riches and success. How then are we more blessed than they? We may not be more physically blessed, but we certainly are more spiritually blessed. We have been selected by God the Father to have the opportunity to be in His Kingdom and receive everlasting life. We have more knowledge than the world when it comes to spiritual matters and what the Bible has to say, because our minds have been opened. The riches and physical things could very well be considered a distraction from what is really important. These physical blessings that the world dwells on now are only temporary, and the time will come when they will mean nothing anymore. Times will get terrible and money won’t be able to buy anything (compare Ezekiel 7:19).
Have we ever tried to count our blessings? Have we ever realized just how very blessed we are? If we live God’s Way and do what God says, there would be no reason for us not to be blessed, right? We go through trials because God tests us to see just how strong we are and just how willing we are to keep His Law. These trials may be difficult at times but they are definitely not too difficult for us to handle, with God’s help. Remember, if we get through these trials, we get rewarded for them with blessings. This is only the beginning. Ultimately, we will have far more blessings than we can ever imagine—spiritual blessings that no one on this earth has ever experienced so far with the exception of Jesus Christ. How many people in the world today can say that?
At times, it may be a little difficult to comprehend this, but history has shown through the Bible how several people have even been blessed tremendously in their physical lives, and all it took was faith and following God’s instruction. Abraham was given many promises by God in response to what he had done, and God had put him to the test many times to see if he would obey Him (Genesis 12). He passed the tests even though they were difficult at first, because his faith had to grow. We have all been there as well. Haven’t we tried to take matters into our own hands, inadvertently forgetting about God at times? It’s our human nature.
Abraham was well blessed (Genesis 17:1-10). Yet, there were still times after all the things that God had promised him that he still had doubt; for example, when God told him that his wife Sarah would give birth to a son (Genesis 17:15-19; 18:10-15). We may sometimes be in a similar situation, forgetting how God continues to bless us. Sometimes we may even take things for granted but as soon as a trial comes along we start to remember more and more that only God can help us and that He blesses us when we get through those trials.
When Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he tried to advise Him what He should do. Believe it or not, we may sometimes do the same thing today when we pray (compare Matthew 7:7-11). We may try to reason with God when there is something very important to us which we want God to “understand.” But God knows already what we think about. Still, He wants to see that we have faith in Him and that we have a relationship with Him. Abraham clearly had a relationship with God, and he pleaded with God about saving Sodom (Genesis 18). But he understood that he could only go so far, and even though God was willing to “listen” to Abraham up to a point, He still decided to destroy Sodom as He could not even find ten righteous people there, and we all know that something similar will happen again in the future, but this time the whole world will be affected in a much more serious manner.
Throughout Abraham’s life, he was tested, just as we are continuously tested, and his faith would be confirmed in Genesis 22:1-3, 6-12, 16-18, when he was asked to sacrifice his only son. Yet again, he was blessed for his willingness to obey, and if we follow God by counting the costs, we too will be blessed continuously. Even though Abraham was not perfect, he pleased God in many ways, and he really proved to God just how faithful he was. God does the same with us today! He continues to test us to see how strong we are in our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4). We should never forget but always remember what blessings we will receive when we continue faithfully in our trials. We will be rewarded!
We are reminded of Abraham’s faith in Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19. Since we also should follow in his footsteps, God promises the same to us in Hebrews 12:1-2, and also in James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation [or trials]; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
This is a tremendous blessing for us, something that we should continue to strive for, and it is indeed God’s plan for each and every one of us to receive that crown of life. We have already been greatly blessed by having the wisdom and knowledge about His plan, before anybody else in the world will be given that understanding. We have the sneak preview of what God has in store for this world and what He has in store for us. The time will come when we will be blessed far more than we, as human beings, could imagine–far more than we could even begin to count now.