Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: THANKFUL (11/14/19)
TITLE: Building A Grateful Heart
By Doug Laird
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Be it what comes to us directly from the hand of God (James 1: 17) or what comes to us through the hands of others, an ungrateful response is often the manifestation of a false sense of perceived entitlement.
People are not inclined to feel or to express genuine thankfulness to the giver when they feel that they are receiving is only what they believe they had coming to them in the first place.
All of us have experienced the shallowness of a "thank you" uttered by rote or out of perceived obligation.
Seldom will it enter the mind of an ungrateful recipient what effort or sacrifice the giver had to make in order to present the gift to them.
When what is given is not appreciated the giver can be just as disappointed as the recipient. Genuine appreciation materializes when the recipients come to realize what sacrifices the giver had to make in order to provide the gift.
Self-centered souls will never come to understand how it can possibly be better to give than to receive (Acts 20: 35).
For them, life is all about what they can get from, not what they can give to, others. What ungrateful souls do receive from others is seldom enough and whatever it was, it could have been better or more.
It is only when recipients become aware that what they have received is a gift and not something they deserved or earned, that they can begin to become truly thankful.
One's sense of thankfulness towards the giver increases when the recipients discovers that what they have received could not have come from any other source.
In the spiritual realm, it is when the born-again believer comprehends what the Lord Jesus Christ did with His Self-imposed (Phil. 2: 7) limitations of His Humanity, as opposed to His deity, that he can begin to appreciate all the that He did in order to provide Fallen Man with means of salvation.
His deity was not subject to physical suffering or physical death. His Humanity was (Luke 24:7).
As of the Fall of Man, the human race found itself in an environment from which there was no human means of escape.
Through divine means (Luke 1:35), God the Son took on the form and the limitations of the type of humanity that Adam possessed before the Fall. This was necessary for God the Son to become the Lamb of God in order to do what only He could have done to save Fallen Man. To retain this status, He had to remain without sin.
Deity can never be diminished. God the Son did not become any less God when He took on human form.
Some conclude that it was because He was God that it was relatively easy for Him to resist temptation.
But I say that possessing the power to do something, but having to retrain oneself from not making independent use of it for personal advantage, reveals the greater struggle that He had when dealing with temptation.
In His deity He could not even be tempted (James 1:13), let alone sin. But in His humanity He was tempted in every way that is common to Man. In His humanity He could have sinned, but He did not (Heb. 4: 15) sin.
If He could not have sinned, there would have been no temptation. Being tempted to sin is not committing sin.
The disqualification of Jesus as the Lamb of God (by way of committing a sin) was what the objective of the devils temptation (Matt. 4/Luke4).
Most Christians are thankful for what God gives or allows to come our way as long as it is what they wanted, anticipated, or expected. It is when we are handed (Job 2: 10) the opposite of what we wanted, anticipated, or expected, that being genuinely thankful becomes a real challenge.
It's only the spiritually mature disciple that can actually rejoice (Romans 5: 3) in the midst of these comparatively (2Cor. 4: 17) light sufferings that we have been called (Phil. 1: 29) to experience.
Jesus set the example.
I must concede that being thankful is not always the first thought that crosses my mind when I am hit with the Matt. 7: 25, 27 storms of life.
But as one spiritually matures, we will develop a thankful heart.
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