Gratitude; May 2, 2023

Psalm 106:24-25 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the Lord.

What follows this is a horrendous record of idolatry and child sacrifice, certainly bringing to mind the tragedy of abortion. However, all of that sprang from what is mentioned here: a failure to believe God, appreciate His blessings, and listen obediently to Him. Faith in God will open our eyes to recognize His gracious blessings to us, generating the obedience that comes from gratitude. It is actually very ironic that we refuse to be grateful, when psychologists, and actually all of history, teach us that gratitude is the key to happiness. However, the devil is out to steal, kill, and destroy, (John 10:10) so he attacks gratitude in every way he can. Gratitude requires an object, someone to whom we are grateful, so atheism by its very nature is antithetical to happiness. As Dennis Prager says, you won’t find a happy Leftist. Conversely, a genuinely happy person isn’t going to be a Leftist. Genuine happiness requires recognizing that, as James said, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) Gratitude toward people is certainly appropriate, but true happiness requires the recognition that good things may come through people, but they originate with our Creator. Faith isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s for ours!

I’m very grateful that I was raised to be grateful. At Christmas, each gift was opened individually, with everyone watching, and they didn’t come from “Santa,” but from a person who was to be thanked. Year after year, that became a powerful lesson to me. I also learned the joy of giving, taking more delight in others opening the gifts I had chosen for them (even if they weren’t bought with my money) than in what I received myself. I would be happy if that attitude permeated my life more than it does, but my primary gifting is Teacher, rather than Giver. However, I do have a clear grasp on the reality of what James said, and that makes me a generally happy person. I have had more than enough struggles with pride, that deafens my ears to God and makes me forget that everything I have is because of His grace. He has told me to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, so that needs to be my focus.

Father, thank You for that reminder. We were really under spiritual attack yesterday, and it was no fun. Thank You that indeed, joy comes in the morning! (Psalm 30:5) Help me receive this day from Your hands with appropriate gratitude, rejoicing in You and blessing others in the process, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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