As I walked along the ocean road this morning, my mind drifted to a conversation I had with my husband the night before as we discussed our daughter’s attitude and disposition. He expressed that she had been saying “thank you” more often and interpreted this as a reflection of her increase and growth on the attitude of gratitude “scale”. This got me to thinking about the difference between what is spoken and what is truly conveyed. The words we speak can often reveal our heart attitudes, can’t they? At times they reveal more than we mean for them to. Words can also harbor destruction, if we let them and the attitudes they reflect remain unexamined or unchecked. As I considered the context of her “thank yous” I began to make a connection in the spiritual realm.
She was thankful every time she received something good. Let’s see…thank you for the chocolate, new book, go-cart rides, sleepover with friend, movie matinee, and ice cream. But no thank you to: discipline, direction and boundaries! I realized the attitude of gratitude did not yet have the capacity for anything but the good things. Wow. Here it comes…conviction. You know the hardest part of being a Christian is having “the mind of Christ”! Before, I could just indulge every thought, prejudice and self-righteous attitude and others would agreeably chime in. But no more. Praise the One who brings Light, Truth and His own Righteousness! Having His mind is also the greatest privilege and blessing of being a Christian! He loves me too much to let me indulge in the garbage of self-centered thinking and polluted worldly views! He gives me clarity, focus and direction. When I think, he lovingly interrupts my thoughts with His thoughts and gives direction and revelation to me as I listen and yield my own mind to His. This is the same thing I so often am guilty of myself. Lord, thank you for the good things but please can you give the bad stuff to someone more deserving? Let me remind you of X, Y, Z and why are you giving them good things? I am so glad that my God is patient with a capital P and does not just deal with me the way I deserve! Giving thanks in all circumstances is something that takes practice. It means we do it whether we feel like it or not. Especially if we don’t feel like it- we need to do it. As an athlete trains in season and out, so we need to train and stretch these specific muscles of thanksgiving lest they atrophy growing stiff and useless. Muscles not used and stretched are prone to injury and can sideline the greatest of athletes. And they will the Christian who does not exercise them daily. Thank Him in all circumstances and you will grow in discipline and the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our God brings both the rain and sun to the godly and ungodly, because He is gracious. It is not our concern how he deals specifically with others. We need to keep our eyes on our Living Hope and Shine for Him as He disciplines, directs and intervenes in our lives. We need to accept the good and the bad the exact same way. Learning to accept all things with an attitude of gratitude reveals Christ in us. I believe giving thanks when it is difficult is sacrificial and that’s why it is pleasing to God. We may not be able to sincerely thank Him for every circumstance that touches us (yet) but we can remain thankful in every circumstance. We have His promise that He will never leave or abandon us. Now I am going to end on a light note: The song that came to my mind as I ended this post this morning was an old TV commercial sung by a child: “I am stuck on Band-Aid, cuz Band-Aid’s stuck on me!”- Now God is greater than any band-aid, that is for sure, but I am feeling overjoyed in His love this morning as I consider Him who I am stuck on and thankfully consider how He is “stuck” on and in me.
Until next time, please keep digging beneath the surface,
Grab a spiritual workout: open your Bible: 2 Peter 3:18, 2 Timothy 2:1, 1 Timothy 1:17, 2:5, 4:4,
Colossians 2:8-10, 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, 3:18-19, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Romans 14:4, Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5