I was recently discussing Tim’s message from Sunday with a friend. (If you haven’t heard it yet, you can do so here www.fcnorfolk.org/current-series) I had posed the question “What area of your life do you feel you’re giving Evil space to run free?” What my friend said caught me off guard. I was expecting, answers like, the movies I watch, gossip with my friends, a difficult work environment, etc…But their answers went much deeper than that, and it resounded true in my own heart. Their answer… “ungratefulness.”
Since that conversation, I’ve become keenly aware of moments of ungratefulness in my own life… Here are a just a few from just the past 24 hrs… Wood that split when I put a screw in it, a coaches meeting interrupting my Sunday evening, having to shove an equipment bag into my truck cab that I wish was bigger, snow in May!!!, wet socks from snow in May!!! And that’s just a few.
But what does this have to do with Evil having a foothold in my life? I think it’s because of what ungratefulness robs us of. It robs us of moments to see and remember the generosity and abundant blessings of God. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God’s will for us is to choose gratefulness over ungratefulness, to look at what we’ve been given instead of being obsessed about unmet wants or what we feel owed.
In every one of those recent moments in which I felt ungratefulness was an opportunity to give thanks, to realize God’s blessings. It was a scrap piece of wood that I didn’t have to buy, I learned how to swing a bat properly (which probably explains why I struck out so much as a kid), I didn’t have to walk home in the rain carrying said equipment bag, the beauty of bright green grass dusted with pure white snow, a warm comfortable place to dry out my wet socks.
Here is the danger. The more we allow an ungrateful spirit to take root in our hearts, the harder it will be for us to give thanks. The more difficult it will be for us to realize God’s blessings in our lives and respond in worship. A spirit of thankfulness and gratitude is at the core of true worship, and without it, our worship of God will feel empty to us and to God. Wondering why your worship times are not satisfying? Start with looking at if your heart is characterized by ungratefulness.
So what do we do? I love what Paul says to the Colossians in Chapter 2 verse 7. “Let your roots grow down into Him (Jesus), and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will OVERFLOW WITH THANKFULNESS (or gratitude).” The more we build our lives on Jesus, the more we will realize just how blessed we are, and Satan’s empty lures of ungratefulness, will be exposed for the petty lies they are.
I pray that each of us might realize God’s abundant blessings and realize that there is no circumstance in which gratefulness and thankfulness can’t outweigh ungratefulness.
for HIS glory,