Monday, November 3, 2014

Gratitude: Gospel Driven or Blessing Driven?

There is a lot of talk about thankfulness and gratitude. After all, no one wants to be around a complaining person. And gratitude is said to boost your emotional state. But what is our gratitude based upon?

The blessings we enjoy?
The people we love?
How life is going?
Comparing to those worse off than us?

While those could be reasons for gratitude, in reality, our gratitude is based on none of those things. Its basis is not things we receive, but a Person. Our gratitude should stand in stark contrast from the shallow gratitude the world offers, because our foundation for gratitude is based upon the finished work of Christ on the cross.

“…if we turn our gratitude for all these blessings away from the One who provides them, we’re left with a handful of colorful thread—yes—but no pattern, no connection between them, nothing to arrange these scraps into anything truly useful or even just plain beautiful.” Nancy DeMoss, Choosing Gratitude (emphasis mine)

Oswald Chambers remarks, “The thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin.” Has God forgiven your sin? Those who have been forgiven of their sin should be the ones filled with the deepest gratitude. Sadly, instead we often complain, whine, and express discontentment. In reality, we’re a lot like the Israelites, who experienced God’s power and goodness and faithfulness, and then turned around and complained about something else.

I’ve recently been listening to the song “My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness” by the Gettys. It has beautiful words. Consider the first verse:

My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me in His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow'r upon my heart.

When’s the last time you spontaneously responded in praise and worship to God for what He has done for you in Christ? If it’s been a while, maybe you haven’t been immersing yourself enough in the truth of the gospel. Because if we really see who we were before Christ— foolish and darkened in our understanding, disobedient, led astray, without hope, dead in our trespasses, strangers and alienated from Christ, then that should well-up gratitude in our hearts for what He has done for us.

Don’t think there’s anything in your life worth thanking God for? Pour over the Scriptures and see what God has done for you. If you have been redeemed, then you have much to be grateful for!


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