Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A Life of Gratitude

 Wednesday, November 23, 2022 Some material taken from Living in Gratitude

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…  Ephesians 5:15-20

A Life of Gratitude

As babies we are completely dependent on someone for every single thing. We needed someone to feed us, change our diapers, and keep us warm, dry, and safe. They did everything they could to keep us happy and content.  As mature believers in Christ we are taught that contentment is found only by trusting and resting in the Lord. As we grow, we begin to understand that accepting God’s will in the losses and gains in this life leads to an inner calm and a surrender to complete trust and rest in Him. 

Before we get to this place of contentment, we sometimes seek to find contentment in all the wrong places. Our souls become restless, and we think we can find contentment somewhere else, but the idols that we run to make us content for a while, until they don’t. Then we move on to the next thing, person, job, etc., that won’t do it either.  In the process, we can end up doing a lot of damage to our lives and the lives of those around us. This restlessness comes from many different things such as a long season of waiting, an unanswered prayer or an answer we did not want, shattered dreams and more.

We run and run until we have nothing left, but at the end of every wrong road is Jesus, waiting to give us exactly what we are looking for.  We make the choice as to whether we are going to choose Him this time or keep running. If we are ever going to find contentment in God, He has to wean us away from all these things we have been looking to fulfill us When we finally realize that true contentment can only be found in Him, we can live a life of gratitude. Contentment leads to gratitude. 

Before we can be content, we have to be ready. We have to want it. God has to do some work in our hearts before we are primed to accept the best He has for us. 

How God Weans Us from the World

·  First, He makes the things of the world bitter to us – It is a relief when God makes the things of the world bitter to us. At some point the things we so desperately seek after will leave a bitter taste in our mouth. This is the sweetest bitterness, and most welcome. That doesn’t mean it might not still be a temptation sometimes, so we have to guard our hearts.

·  Second, he removes one by one the things on which we depend – When we are before Him stripped bare of everything that we have been depending on and have nothing, we are ready to surrender to Him. We know at this point that we do not need anything but Him. Nothing else matters now. Here our eyes are opened to the false security and false hope we have put in other things. 

·  Third, he gives us something better. The dependence we have on Him is the only thing we can’t do without at this point. We do not need anything more than we need Him. 

God takes away the “good” things to give us something better – real and true contentment in Him. He gives us what nothing else in this world can and when we find contentment in Him, we can live a life of true gratitude. We can be thankful, not because we have what we want, or our life is perfect. We can be thankful because we finally understand that we have everything we could ever hope for in Him. Unlike the circumstances in our lives, the number in our bank account, His love for us will never change. We can depend on Him and find contentment in Him that is safe forever. 

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