gratitude part III

You’ve been a believer a long time but have you found yourself being judgmental, frequently disappointed in others or demanding?  Are others always falling short of your expectations?  Are you a “taker” in your relationships always seeing that your needs get met?

Tough questions.  Tough for all of us to ponder.  Especially us believers.

How can we be in this place?  Given all that Christ did for us in our total depravity, how can we have forgotten so quickly?  I think it has to do with a lack of gratitude.  We’ve moved beyond the wonder of salvation.  We’ve graduated to a more mature life than that crazy “newbee” Christian who was radical in his faith, not caring what others thought about this new passion in his life.  We’re now “civil” in our faith.  We’ve come to believe we’re pretty good people and pretty good people start thinking they deserve “more”.

You see, a starving man will rejoice over a chicken sandwich and a cup of water.  His gratitude will be overwhelming.  He won’t stop thanking you for providing him desperate nourishment.  That was us…years ago.  Full of gratitude, humble in the grace bestowed upon us.

And then…many years later, we’ve forgotten.  We’ve grown complacent.  We are no longer satisfied with basic nourishment.  We crave “more”.  We are no longer grateful.  No longer content.

A lack of gratitude is a manifestation of greed.  After a few years of this, we find ourselves perpetually broken.  Life isn’t working for us – even as believers – we can’t seem to heal.  We must know this, nothing will heal if we are ungrateful.

We are saved and then we drift towards forgetting.  We lose our gratitude.  We begin to reach for more.  Life starts to breakdown.  We hit the rocks and wonder why.  Nothing heals if we are ungrateful so only as we crash against the rocks do we realize that it starts with gratitude or a lack thereof.

Usually in there we discover some unforgiveness.  It may be towards our Father.  Or our Mom.  Or perhaps an old coach or a boss.  Maybe it is with our wife.  Unforgiveness is deadly.  It is a root that will go deep and run long in your life.  It leads to ungratefulness and we’ve seen where that will take you.

Unforgiveness is a willful refusal to give up resentment or an insistence that someone pay for a wrong.  It is hard to forgive because it seems like we are letting them get away with it.  But as Christians, we have to know that we surrendered our right to be judge when we turned our life over to Christ.  We surrendered our right to retaliate.

Do you remember the notion of “surrendering”?  Salvation called for you to surrender.  If you’ve ever worked with someone as they approached salvation, you understand their reluctance to surrender to the Lord but that is what it takes.  You surrendered way back then and immediately were washed in grace and radically transformed and empowered.  You were totally undeserving and you were eternally grateful.

You surrendered back then and you must surrender now.  Surrender your desire to get even, to have justice, to make things fair, to have an apology from those that hurt you.  Let it go.  It’s no longer your place to demand these things.  You put Jesus in that seat.  Let Him do His thing.

Kill unforgiveness in your life.  Surrender it and gratitude will return.  If you release this to the Lord, you’ll once again taste the sweet grace of gratitude.  The stress will lift.  The hurt/anger will move off you.  Once again you will feel love and you will be able to love.  You will be able to live a “generative” life – where you can engage all your talents, abilities and passion to become that which is good and true.  You can begin to live the life God designed for you.

But it won’t happen without gratitude.  Gratitude & Humility.

Here are the slides from today … uprising 8 gratitude pt 2

LiveUP!

 

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