Series: “I LOVE MY CHURCH” by Pastor David R. Stokes
Sunday, October 28th, 2018: ““WE WILL NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED: It’s About Expressing Our Gratitude Through Action”
This week’s expectakeaway devotional come to us from Pastor Mike Zizolfo!
THE GRATEFUL LIFE IS A GREAT-FULL LIFE.
Gratitude is one of the greatest resources and tools available to us, yet so many people miss out on the power of having a grateful heart. The doctrinal basis for gratefulness is God’s goodness and grace. The more aware you are of God’s grace the more aware you become of His goodness. And vice versa.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most joyful people in life are the people who have the least and some of the unhappiest people are extremely wealthy. Why? Because where there is no contentment there can be no joy. And contentment can’t be sustained without exercising Gratitude!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
When we exercise thankfulness and gratitude, we are shifting the focus off of ourselves, off of our selfish desires, off the pain of our certain circumstances and onto the goodness of God. Thankfulness is not a suggestion. It’s a command.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thess 5:18 (NIV)
WE WILL NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED
Take a moment and think about the amazing things has God done in your life. Really think about it. Something we must be very careful of is to not take the incredible things we’re experiencing for granted. Or even worse, come to see what we’re experiencing as something we’re entitled to. You see, the opposite of gratitude is not actually ingratitude, but entitlement.
Entitled = believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Whenever you have something that is essentially a privilege for too long you can begin to feel it’s something you’re entitled to. Something that’s yours by right. When in fact everything you have is by the grace of God. Everything. Your gratitude begins where your sense of entitlement ends.
You are not entitled to have a spouse. You are blessed with one.
You are not entitled to have a job. You are provided one.
You are not entitled to healing, forgiveness, or salvation. You are given them.
I think that’s why throughout the Bible God repeatedly tells His people to recount His deeds on their behalf and the blessings that He had given them. It wasn’t because He needed to be reminded of how good He was. It was because they needed to be reminded of how good they had it. And how much they did not deserve it. We need to be reminded too. None of us deserve anything we have. None of us are entitled to anything. But that’s what makes God’s benefits and blessings so extraordinary. God’s grace is the grounds for our gratitude.
IT’S ABOUT EXPRESSING OUR GRATITUDE THROUGH ACTION
Don’t forget that simply having an attitude of gratitude is not enough. If you’re grateful you’ll say it and you’ll show it. You may say it initially to bless the other person, but ultimately you are the one who benefits the most from it. Also by expressing it, you are being reminded that God is in control. Gratitude, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to everyone. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).
Make a list of the things you are grateful for in your life.
Is there anything you feel you have taken for granted?
How can you express your gratitude through action this week?