Occasional Gratitude

Posted on · Posted in Gratitude

The Holy Spirit is clear: he wants me to always be thankful. He tells me this in the Psalms of David. He tells me through the pen of Paul: give thanks in everything. This morning I am conscious of how often I am disinterested in following the commands of God’s Spirit, commands that are meant only for my good!  The Spirit’s commands are not just for occasional situations when I feel “led” to follow them or when I “feel” like being thankful. 

The Spirit’s commands are given to focus my thoughts on following God.  His direction informs me of how I should think about all that is happening to me. God is not a bystander observing me from a distance. No, he is constantly directing all of the circumstances of my life so that I would add to his reputation with every decision, with every action, with every thought that I have.  If I am to represent God well, I can only do that by faithful obedience. Occasional obedience is not cool. It is not profitable. It honors me and not God. 

Therefore, occasional gratitude results in me being a dysfunctional person. It means living in a way that is contrary to how God made me. Occasional gratitude means that I am living life on my terms. That definitely is not cool!

Here are just some of the wonders in my life that should drive me to be always grateful instead of occasionally grateful:

I awoke in the presence of God and not in the fires of hell.

I have the honor of knowing that God knows who I am and loves me still.

I am secure, protected by the providence of God in the middle of life’s chaos.

I have seen that cancer has no ability to undermine the faithfulness of God.

As I take my next breath, I know it is because this, too, is God’s gift to me.

I have one eye and one ear that don’t work very well, yet I am constantly stunned by the visual majesty of creation and the power of music.

I have the privilege of being thankful.

I know that my life is connected to eternity.

I am relieved and thrilled I don’t have to trust my own understanding.

I know that despite my desire to the contrary, I will remain occasionally grateful and still be loved by the One who became sin for me so that I can be grateful!

I have the promise of the Holy Spirit that he is always with me.

I have the secure knowledge that God has orchestrated everything in my life for the purpose of knowing him more closely.

I have peace in knowing the unseen is more real and valuable than what is seen.

I have the gift of knowing Christ.

Occasional gratitude is inconsistent with the gift of God’s grace that he has lavished on me. It is not what the Holy Spirit has commanded for my life. However, I have hope because God is faithful to me even when I am not always grateful. This too is a gift and for this, I am deeply thankful!

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.