Monday, November 21, 2016

The Real Reason for Being Grateful

I’d like to say thanks again to all who spent time reading my Write 31 Days posts. I have never written fiction before and it was a fun experience!

My typical genre is non-fiction Christian living and encouraging believers to walk as we are called.

I took a break for a bit mainly because of the intensity of writing everyday for 31 days. I also was able to visit London with my husband and we’ve got holiday things happening, and I am dealing with sending my son abroad in January to Hillsong Leadership College in Australia.

As you can imagine, this mama’s heart is struggling between being so proud of my son and excited to launch him but also seriously saddened about the hole he will leave behind.

So, switching gears, the month of November is typically reserved for a focus on gratitude. I’d like to offer a slightly different perspective on gratitude.

I’d like to explore verses that speak about what happens when we are grateful. There are scriptures that give clear direction that if we have a mindset of thankfulness it changes our hearts and we receive blessings from God.

Let first look at Philippians 4:6-7, it says
 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Two big things I am going to highlight in this verse.

1) The command “Do Not” at the very beginning. When Christ      gives a command, we need to obey. 
It’s  not a suggestion, if we don’t then we are in sin.
2) You get the peace of God AFTER you do the first part. Do not be anxious, pray and be grateful.

So often we want the quick fix. We want to be able to ask God for peace, or worse we go out and try to find it in the world are then upset and lose faith when it doesn’t happen.

It’s time for us to take responsibility for our part in receiving that peace that we so desire.

Obedience and Thanksgiving unlocks our ability to receive with open hands God’s blessing and promise of peace.

We aren’t going to get this supernatural peace with closed, pouty fists wanting what we want and expecting more of it tomorrow.

We have so much to be grateful for! 
The blessings in this first-world, extravagant country we live in are sometimes embarrassing because of their lavishness.

  • We forget to be grateful for running water, water heaters and unlimited sources of water.
  • We forget to be grateful for isles and isles of choices at our grocery stores.
  • We forget to be grateful for sunrises and sunsets.
  • We forget to be grateful for coffee, ice cream and other indulgent treats.

Instead we build up entitlement ideas in our heads, we insist that we “need”. The reality is most people able to read this have phones, tablets or computers with internet. That alone is extravagant by the rest of the world’s standards. 

We don’t have that many real needs that we can’t just go fulfill on our own.

If you desire peace in your life, the peace that passes all understanding, reason and ability to fabricate, then you must learn gratitude.

I have made a gratefulness list in my journal and I continue to add to it. I read it when I am feeling selfish, self-centered, disappointed, down or sad, when I think I deserve something and especially when I get angry.

Considering God’s riches He bestows on us, there is no reason under heaven for us to refuse to be grateful.

When we express thankfulness, it changes our hearts. There’s something powerful about turning our thoughts from inward focus to outward gratitude. That is why God tells us to do it and then we’ll receive God’s peace that guards our hearts and minds.

Why would we need peace to guard our hearts?

Peace guards your heart from being ungrateful, and forgetting what God’s done for you. When you experience that supernatural peace, you don’t forget it, it marks you, it leaves a deposit so to speak.

The guarding of your heart is against sin, self-centeredness, pride of thinking you did it all on your own, and entitlement. 

When we receive this supernatural peace from God it enables or activates our ability to stay in that place of gratitude and selflessness because we have experienced His power.

I encourage you to take some time this week and make a gratitude list that you can reflect back on when times are hard or you know you’ve got a bad attitude about something.

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you all!  

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