Sometimes it is easy to begin just going through the motions.
I become legalistic in the way I follow God.
I start just following rules; just do the “right” thing.
No, you can’t do that.
Deprive yourself here.
Good Christians do that.
Check these things off the daily list: read Bible, read Bible with kids, memorize Scripture, don’t lose your temper, exercise, eat healthy, volunteer at church, etc.
But I forget that the heart behind these actions is just as important to God as the actions themselves.
God tests our hearts.
And when I live in the legalism of you can’t do this and you have to do that- seeds of bitterness can take root.
Instead of seeing all the bountiful riches and freedom in Christ- I see rules that bind and limit and only keep me from the things (I think) I want.
Thankfulness fades and I start to feel deprived- like I am really missing out on something great by obeying God.
That is a lie.
The enemy wants us to doubt the goodness of God- to doubt whether He truly wants what’s best for us.
That’s at the heart of every lie he tells us. He whispers, “God doesn’t really love you. He’s keeping something wonderful just out of your grasp. You can’t trust him.”
“The reason why glorifying God through thanksgiving is so emphasized is not hard to see. The divine gifts and blessings that Scripture see as given in the good experiences of natural life and the amazing mercy of supernatural salvation, are far richer and more abundant, and involve far more of divine generosity, than are dreamed of by any other faith.
Our acts of thanksgiving, therefore, are not to be hollow formalities. On the contrary, to be acceptable, they must be genuine expressions of gratitude in the heart of all God’s giving…” J. I. Packer Rediscovering Holiness
All acts become an outpouring of thanksgiving and love to God when we ponder all He has done for us.
He gave His Son for us.
When we were lost in our sin.
He gave us hope- despite the fact that we had already chose other things over him. We love and chase idols, we ignore and forget Him- and He patiently loves and continually extends the gift of grace and forgiveness of sins.
A free gift.
That’s what I need to remember for my heart to overflow with gratitude, joy, and thanksgiving.
These days, when I sit down and read Romans, or start singing praise songs or hymns in my home- tears come to my eyes. It is the remembering– who He is- what He has done.
It is so easy to forget the enormity of the gift lavished upon us.
And all acts become sacred when we see God’s provision- not only for our immediate needs on this earth- but for eternity. We have a heavenly home. We are forgiven and covered in grace.
God reached across the divide and reconciled us to himself- all we must do is accept and agree that we need Him.
Lord, it is too wonderful. When I ponder what you have done, let the truth soak into my heart and soul- my whole being longs to tell you, to show you- to live out my appreciation for what you have done. Your love awes and overwhelms me. We don’t see love like yours on this earth. It is hard to fathom how passionately you pursue us- how patiently you wait, how agonized you are when we are lost and turn away. Your compassion knows no bounds. Today Lord, I choose to live in thankful praise. To acknowledge that the God I serve is great and worthy of my praise. Let my life bring glory to you- let my praises flow- in all I do and say- to magnify your Name. Thank you. Thank you Jesus. All praise and honor and glory is Yours, Amen.
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