Friday, July 13, 2012

Pleasing Jesus: Joyfully Giving Thanks

So, how are you doing? Is life treating you fair these days? Not likely. If you are like most folks you probably have a list of complaints and troubles. There is so much stacked against us in life that it's hard to see ourselves getting ahead. There is always something to trouble us. If it isn't finances then it's relationships. If it isn't relationships then it is health. If it isn't health then it is the weather. If it's not the weather ... you get the point. Life can be hard and unfair. Or, at least that can be our view point without Jesus.

Think about it for a second; with Jesus our future is guaranteed, he promised the Father is looking after our needs today, he took away our need of fear and worry, and he gave us purpose. Now, if we choose to ignore any of these things and decide to live in misery and poverty of spirit, that is entirely up to us, but what he has offered us should be more than enough for us to maintain a grateful heart. The problem is, complaining comes natural to us.

Even with all these spiritual blessings we still find a reason to complain. We are just like the Israelites coming out of Egypt. Instead of looking at what God has done in the past and what he has promised for today and the future, we decide to focus on the negative, our perceived deficit. You need to understand that this does not please Jesus. God called the Israelites stiff necked when they complained despite his blessings. Jesus called them the same thing and we are no better.

It doesn't matter the thousand things Jesus has done for us in the past; if there is one thing to worry about tomorrow we will worry and with worry we find fear. We always fear the worse even though there is no evidence for it. Just the possibility of something can put us in a spin. One day we are proclaiming the greatness and glory of our God , then the next we are throwing mud at his glory by filling our day with worry and often complaining about it. In truth we are complaining against God.

A grateful heart has no room for fear, worry or complaining. A grateful heart recognizes the supremacy of our God and the things he has done in the past, along with the promises he has made for the future. A grateful heart expresses the joy of our relationship with Jesus. A grateful heart puts today and tomorrow in a different light and keeps all challenges in their proper perspective. A grateful heart allows the peace of God to flow and bathe us in trust. A grateful heart pleases Jesus. We find it in the list Paul gave the Colossians concerning the elements in our life that please Jesus:

... and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritanceof the saints in the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:22

I like the word "joyfully" there. It makes me think of a lavish outpouring of praise to our God who has done, is doing and will do so much for us. As the song says, count your blessings one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.I think we are ungrateful and forgetful who need to remind ourselves of what God has poured out on us. Make a list. Keep a note book and write down every time God blesses you. Review that list once a week and you will begin to see things in a different light.

Jesus loves us and is supporting us in the mission to the end. The spiritual gifts that have been given to us are extravagant. Just the fact that we have been forgiven our sins should be enough to keep us praising every day, but there is so much more. All our Lord asks in return is that we keep a grateful attitude in all our days so that our praise will be heartfelt and our relationship with him will remain healthy and strong. A grateful heart pleases Jesus and changes how we see our day.

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