Week 36: Gratitude
We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds. Psalm 75:1
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
This past Wednesday was my birthday, I turned 45. About three or four years ago I encouraged our congregation to “count their blessings” by creating what I called a gratitude list. I said that you should write down one thing for which you were grateful to God for every year that you’ve been around.
So last week I added number 45 to my gratitude list. Now, my list includes some obvious things like my wife and kids, our church, my friends. But my list also includes some things that we often overlook, like cool fall mornings and clean drinking water. And there’s several things on my list that you wouldn’t list and even a couple that you may not even approve of. But hey, it’s my gratitude list.
If you still haven’t made your list, then stop this devo and start creating your own gratitude list now. Because every time I take out a few minutes in my day to read over the many blessings of God in my life, it truly does stir a sense of gratitude in me. Maybe that’s why the Psalmist encourages us over and over to recount God’s blessings in our lives.
I’m sure that you’re like me, in that we have a tendency towards entitlement. As we focus more and more on ourselves, we begin to actually believe that we deserve good things. We think we deserve freedom and privileges. The luxuries that we’ve grown accustomed to, we begin to take for granted and we forget that every good and perfect gift is from above.
Entitlement is really just the result of a self-centered life. The gospel however, drives us to gratefulness. The gospel reminds us that we have NO merit and that it is by GRACE alone that we have anything in our lives, let alone life itself. The reality of the gospel is that in Christ Jesus, God the Father LAVISHES His love upon us.
That word lavish, it really just means excessive. That God doesn’t pour out just enough love and grace to merely save us in the next life, but He richly blesses us beginning in this life with every spiritual blessing.
One of the most amazing things about our Sovereign Omnipotent God, is that even the things that don’t feel like blessings, like when things don’t go our way or when we walk through immense pain, that our God is even working in those things for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.
So, give thanks. Take some time right now to either review your gratitude list or start making it. And when you get tired or frustrated or let down or entitled, then take out that list and remind yourself of the many, MANY blessings of God in your life.
One thing that is true in every relationship is that we are drawn to people that we are grateful for. This is also true of our relationship with The LORD. So as you are reminded of His faithfulness and blessing in your life I promise your heart for Him will grow.
So may you continue to deepen your relationship with Jesus as you recount His many blessings in your life.