Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 ESV
I often find myself associating being blessed with a life of ease. Finances are good. Family is healthy. Circumstances are going my way. But Biblically speaking, being blessed does not necessarily correlate with positive circumstances. In fact, many times we are most blessed when we are most distressed. Why? Because being blessed isn’t a physical state; it’s a spiritual one.
Think about it. Jesus didn’t open His mouth and declare, “Blessed are those who have money,” “Blessed are those who are well-liked,” or “Blessed are those who never mourn.” He said blessed are the meek, the merciful, the mournful, the pure in heart, the persecuted, and the persistent. In other words, blessed are those whose focus is on eternity; blessed are those whose riches are not of this world.
Sure, having money is great; and it is certainly not a sin. And being well-liked does not mean we’re doing something wrong. Yet neither our financial status nor our social status are accurate indicators of our spiritual well-being.
When we die, we don’t want to hear God say, “Well done, my rich and well-liked one. You have gained the world yet lost your soul.” No, we want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).
Come and share your master’s happiness. Happiness on earth? No. Happiness in heaven. God doesn’t promise happiness on earth. In fact, He often proclaims the opposite. John 16:33 reads, “In the world you will have trouble….” Romans 8:36 declares it’s for God’s sake we are killed and accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Even the above verse from James talks about when we endure a trial, not if.
Our joy and our hope are not found in the things of this world. Neither are earthly accolades indicative of eternity rewards. We must remember that in God’s economy, the difference between being truly blessed and just having a bunch of earthly blessings is found in our focus. We are truly blessed when our focus is on our Heavenly Father–when our focus is not on who we are and what we have but rather on who He is and what He has promised to those who love Him. We are not blessed because life is perfect and the world is at our fingertips; we are blessed because God is perfect and has the whole world in His hands.
We are blessed because God. Yes. That’s it. Because God. To know Him is to love Him. And to love Him is to serve Him. And when we do–when we love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength–when we seek Him first in all things–then, yes, then we will be truly blessed–whether or not the world can see it. We will endure the trials, rejoice in the persecutions, withstand the temptations, and mourn with hope. We will not lose heart. We will never give up. And we will never let go. Why? Because God. Because God promises He is working in all ways for His glory. Because God promises if we persevere now, we will reap in eternity. Because God promises He will never leave us nor forsake us. And because when God promises, “no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20).
So do you know God today? Do you love Him? Seek Him? Serve Him? Then you are blessed, my friend. You are truly blessed.