"In this world you will have trouble."
Jesus said this in John chapter 16 and it is most certainly true. We have had trouble ourselves and know that what Jesus said is true via our experiences. We see cancer and other diseases, we see people losing jobs, we see kids bullied in school, we see all kinds of trouble in this world. From ISIS to an ACL tear we know that trouble exists.
"And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you want so build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?" Luke 14:27-28
Jesus said that we must count the cost of following Him. He never promised Christians an easy life. If you've ever tried to live out your faith you know that this is true: there is a cost for being a follower of Jesus.
That all being said, we must never forget all the benefits of belonging to God's family.
"Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits." Psalm 103:2
Have you ever gotten stuck thinking about the cost of following Jesus and the troubles of the world? Have you ever been ridiculed for your beliefs and then dwelt on how hard it is to be a Christian in today's world? Have you ever read the news and been overwhelmed by the tragedies of our world? If so, may I suggest that we must never forget all the benefits of belonging to God.
Here are a few examples of the benefits of God that King David gave in Psalm 103: redemption from sin, everlasting and abounding love as high as the heavens, gentle compassion, desires satisfied with good things, righteousness and justice for the oppressed, graciousness, and complete forgiveness of sins.
Those are some great benefits.
The Apostle Paul said it this way:
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
In fact, the benefits of God are great here and now in this present life; and the benefits of God will be unending and perfect in the life to come. The benefits of God are staggering.
Have you ever seen people weigh pros and cons on a scale? Perhaps they took checker pieces and put them on either the pro or con side of the balance scale to "weigh" their decision. Well, if we did this with the decision to follow or not to follow Christ the result would be humorous. If we "weighed" our decision and put as much as we could think of on the con side, the pro side would still turn that balance scale into a catapult. The benefits of Jesus far outweigh the cost of following Him.
Are there costs to being a Christian? Yes. Is there trouble all around us in the world? Absolutely. But the benefits of God far exceed anything. So, today try this: list the benefits of God like David did in Psalm 103.
"Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits" today.