My pastor gave a sermon on gratitude as a way to fix our minds on what is good. As a Christian gratitude should be a lifestyle choice and not just a quick thank you prayer to God (speaking from personal experience).
Scripture supports this view by telling us not to grumble, to pray with thanksgiving and rejoice in the Lord continually. The scripture verse that strikes me about thanksgiving is Hebrews 13:5 NIV Keep your life from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
Did you hear that? The God of the universe has promised to always be faithful to you!
As a sinner, I have been jealous, lustful and covetous as a person – these are the character traits that I have ignorantly retained from my old nature which I desire to move away from in my faith journey. With the Holy Spirit’s help, I can put on the new self that God intends for me through His strength and from a changed heart God can manifest new, life-giving traits in us.
Lately, when I am tempted to compare my life with others, the phrase: be content with what you have, has come to mind.
I surmise God may be saying this because when we are longing for something we don’t have we become more vulnerable to sin and God wants us to praise Him for the little things! He has always provided for us and will continue to provide us what He feels we need.
Sometimes I really do admire things that other people are doing and wish I was doing something similar and inspiration is a good thing. However, God reminds me to be grateful for what He is doing right now. For example: I am thankful I can write this.
I encourage you to tell yourself when you realize that your mind is coveting someone else’s gift, talent or status to stay in your lane knowing that God is generous and has given you so many precious gifts including getting the opportunity to know Him and be saved by Jesus. Just because life can be difficult at times does not mean God is not at work.
Paul learned to be content when in need and when with plenty for he depended on Christ’s sufficiency to provide and care for him.
It is amazing how different a day can feel when we take the time to praise God for the time to rest and relax, not following our selfish desires, but letting him set the day’s pace. The opposite for me, a day where I am not trusting or praising Him, looks like pacing around thinking of all my endless desires – tired and lonely.
I am grateful God has built in restful times and seasons for me. Because God gifted me with the ability to feel others’ emotions strongly I easily pick up others’ moods so too much negativity without an eternal perspective leaves me thirsty for God, free space and time to create and experiment.
As a type A personality, I’m thinking it would be more wise for me to start asking God how He wants me to use my time and energy most wisely. Instead of walking in the world’s ways, by the Lord’s grace, I can allow myself the grace to learn new things and make mistakes.
Even as a church culture we can focus on the negative like the times the saints failed – whether in having faith, exorcizing demons or defending Jesus, but I am encouraged that Jesus forgave them for their inability to remain consistently faithful. He did not give up on their ability to be effective Christ witnesses despite human shortcomings and that’s the wonderful God we serve- one who is able to see and call us beyond the ordinary into situations where only faith can provide us with supernatural strength.
My question for you is:
How can we be intentional about praising, thanking and edifying Christ?