Building Blocks (Part 6) – Gratitude
One of my favorite times of the year is Thanksgiving. I love the Fall weather, the crisp air, and the food on Thanksgiving day. It is nice to hear what people are thankful for during those days. However, shouldn’t we be thankful all year long? A holiday shouldn’t dictate our attitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
A growing Christian should practice perpetual gratitude. In this verse we see that we should give thanks in everything. This means even in the worst situations we should give thanks because it is the will of God.
Let’s look at some barriers to true thanks giving.
1. An unredeemed soul.
Romans 1:21 – Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
If you are unredeemed, you are not going to thank God because you do not believe that He really is the source of all good things. If you are never thankful, examine your heart. You may have never truly been saved.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.
When you are doubting, you simply aren’t believing. When I say doubts, I mean doubts about God’s sovereignty, the fact that God controls all things. In other words, we are thankful because we know that even when bad things happen, they are within the permissive will of God and that He can use evil to bring about good.
Some people are not thankful to God simply because they are ignorant of His blessing in their lives. They have not spent enough time studying Scripture. They do not understand what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do.
Some are not thankful because they mistakenly believe that they have accomplished something on their own, apart from God. Sure, you have worked hard. Sure, you have given maximum effort and made good decisions. However, who gave you the intelligence to learn and grow and make those decisions?
Some people are so angry with God because they feel like God didn’t give them a fair hand in life. They are unhappy in their circumstances. They had higher expectations. They thought things would turn out different.
Yet, what exactly do we deserve? What does God owe us? Nothing. He gives us everything out of a heart of divine mercy. To be angry or disappointed with God’s gifts is to presume upon His grace and feel that He owes us something.
6. Self – Centeredness
This is similar to pride, but this is an obvious mark of immaturity. Self-centeredness says, “I deserve this” or “I deserve more than this.” The self-centered person always speaks of I, I, I, and me, me, me. If you are not grateful for what you have, why should God give you more?
7. Pursuit of Pleasure
The world is rabid in its pursuit of pleasure and many Christians are caught up in the flow. We have so much but we want more. Enough is never enough. It has often been said, “We spend money we don’t have, to buy stuff we don’t need, to impress people, we don’t like.”
We do not stop to thank God for what we have because we are too busy lusting after something more.
8. A Critical Spirit
Some people have very high standards. This in of itself is not bad. However, instead of seeing the good, they look for the faults. Because they have unrealistic expectations of themselves, others and life itself, because they always see the negative, they rarely notice the abundant blessings God showers on them every day.
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