Gratitude: The Art of Thankfulness
Somedays I don’t feel like I am winning at the game of life. Even when I think I am doing my best, I know that I am making mistakes along the way. Add to that, my propensity for perfectionism. I wish I had a better way of perfection detection in life other than an acute awareness of the stress I put my wife and kids through. That’s why we all need the grace of God in our lives.
What I am saying is that I understand my own capacity for selfish living really well. Paradoxically, I can be extremely generous in a way that plays into selfish motives. I can be altruistic in a way that plays into a hidden self-interest. I can show kindness, with a clenched fist. I can love with selfish motives. Isn’t that the nature of paradox? Or maybe it’s the duplicitous nature of the human heart. I cannot justify it, I can only make observation about it that finds validation in scripture.
The Old Covenant Prophet name Jeremiah had a theory about the human heart when he said,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
It’s more than a theory, it’s a fact. I know my own heart and its capacity for selfishness, but I’ve also encountered its wisdom when yielded to God.
With all of the complex issues my family faces with chronic health challenges, and the additional strain on our relationships and finances, the one thing we always come back to is gratitude.
The Apostle Paul was speaking under the influence of the Spirit of God within him when he said,
“15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17
This verse of scripture is the antidote to my own selfishness, self-pity, fear, and my long held grudges. It’s prescriptive and predictive. It’s prescriptive because it is telling me how to walk out my faith (praxis) and it’s likewise predictive because it’s telling me that the peace of Christ will rule my heart.
Step 1. Let the shalom (peace) of Christ rule your heart.
Step 2. Be thankful.
Step 3. Be a carrier of the message of Christ’s peace.
Step 4. Share the message through psalms, hymns, and songs of the Spirit with heart full of gratitude.
Step 5. Make sure your walk and your talk are telling the same story.
Step 6. Do everything as unto Christ himself.
No matter what challenges I am facing, following these simple 6 steps helps me to reduce the amount stress I experience, and mostly cause in the lives of those I love.
Much love from this Dusty Disciple to you.
Pastor Jeremy E.