Monday, November 10, 2014

Gratitude: Grateful Responses

In Choosing Gratitude, Nancy DeMoss says that we have two options of responses regarding our circumstances: we can whine, or we can worship. Instinctively, my heart tends to move to whine more than it does worship.

“This is too hard.”
“Why does everything bad happen at once?”
“Why doesn’t God just remove this hardship?”
“When will this situation change?”
“Why am I not seeing this answer to prayer?”

If I would look to God, I would remember that He holds all things in His hands, that He is good and does good, that He is the source of all power, that no purpose of His can be thwarted, and that I can trust Him. But where does my heart naturally wander? To complaining or whining, as if I had a better idea than God Himself.

Reminds me of Moses, who when God told him He would use him to rescue the Israelites from slavery, retorted, “I’m not eloquent…I’m slow of speech and tongue." (Ex. 4:10) He dared to question God’s wisdom. God’s response was to rebuke him: “Who has made man’s mouth?” Oh yeah...

Nancy DeMoss says, “Forgetfulness and ingratitude go hand in hand.” It sounds silly when we read a story like that of Moses’, until we compare it to our own lives. How often does our forgetfulness of God's power and wisdom lead us to respond in ingratitude?

The problem when we whine is that it destroys how God wants to use that difficulty to refine us.
Complaining prevents me from being grateful for what God has given.
Stewing over a relational challenge prevents me from being grateful for that person.
Lamenting over something not happening prevents me from being grateful if it does happen.

It takes a lot of humility to be grateful. To be grateful, I must realize that any source of good is outside of me, and I often want the applause and approval of others for myself. Ingratitude ultimately stems from pride—thinking I deserve better, that I need a particular thing, that it’s owed to me.

In order to become grateful people then, we must make a habit of confessing and repenting of our ungrateful attitudes, and then renew our minds in the truth of the gospel (what Christ has done for us when we were completely undeserving). Identifying specific places where we are prone to complain and express ingratitude is another step towards becoming a grateful person. We cannot put-off what we have not identified, and we cannot put-on if we haven’t put-off. Merely confessing to God, “sorry for being ungrateful” will not change your future actions. Without heart transformation, your ingratitude will seep out, even if it's not in the exact same area as before.

What areas is God convicting where you tend to whine instead of worship? 
What would biblical repentance look like? 


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