Attitude of gratitude and Praise
Life is busy.
Go to work
House to clean (it just never seems to be in a total state of order for more than a minute)
Children to raise
Ministry to do
Church to attend
Friendships and family relationships to nurture.
The list is long, the list is endless.
We struggle to get things in balance most of the time (I know I do, I don’t think I have ever found the balance)
A combination of ideas came from different sources and I’ve been reflecting on how they actually go together hand in hand.
1: an attitude of gratitude – a challenge given by a dear and wise sister on the devotional Whatsapp group for moms she started
2: Praise Him forever – day 7 of Chris Tomlin’s Holy Roar devotional on YouVersion Bible app.
3: Concept of Rest
For all three of these, the key is spending time with our Creator. His Word is the common thread that ties these together.
The more we Praise God, the more we find things to be grateful for. The more we find His rest in His Word, the more we praise, the more we are grateful.
I checked out synonyms for these words too:
Gratitude: thankfulness, appreciation, acknowledgement, respect, indebtedness
Praise: worship, glorify, honour, exalt, adore, reverence, bless, magnify
If you look up these words in the Bible, most of the time they appear in variations of gratitude and praise in the same passage.In searching for passages on each of these, the more I find this to be true. More often than not if you find a passage that mentions one of these three, it will invariably mention another one or all three.
Here are a few I found:
That’s just a few – there are loads more.
It starts with our relationship with God. In any relationship you get to know the other person by spending time with them, listening and talking to them.
It is no different in our relationship with God. We cannot get to know Him without reading His Word, we cannot listen and talk to Him if we are not spending time with Him. And like any relationship it takes effort, relationships don’t just happen.
God revealed Himself in His Word and by Jesus who is described as The Word (John 1:1-5). The more we are in His Word, the more we will see things to be grateful for, our eyes will more easilt recognise it.
This leads us to praise Him more and more, and leads us to want to spend more time with Him and He is our rest.
Not every encounter with a friend is an intense, in-depth time. Sometimes it’s just a “thinking of you”, “hope you having a great day”, “love you”, but there does have to be intense, in-depth sessions otherwise our relationship is just superficial and of no substance, it will not withstand the onslaught of crisis.
God isn’t saying everyday must be an intense study of His Word, or time of prayer. Those are necessary and vital to our relationship, but He says in Philippians 4:4-9 “in every situation”, so whether you are standing in a queue at the shops, driving in traffic (that’s an oxymoron, it’s more like sitting in traffic), washing dishes or you have a treasured time to be intensely in His Word, in every situation talk to Him, praise Him, be grateful for something, recall scripture.
We will find that cultivating this relationship, we will experience God’s peace, His rest for our souls. Regardless of our circumstances, He will give us His rest. Our world might fall apart around us, but with our eyes focused on Him, He will be our sustaining strength.
As I’m writing this, I remember another idea that totally blindsided me. I can’t remember exactly where I read it that first opened my eyes to my error, but I’m glad it did.
All my Christian life I have lived with the concept that God will not give us more than we can handle. If a situation arose that I thought was hard, I would tell myself it’s because God knows you can handle this.
But that is totally wrong and misconstrued.
God will not allow us to be TEMPTED more than we can handle, and He will always provide a way out, but if He only gave us situations that we could handle how are we supposed to rely on His strength, because we would be able to handle all circumstances in our own.
This blew my mind when I realised this.
We will be faced with situations and circumstances that are more than we can handle. It is in these times that we learn to live by God’s strength, to rely on His provision. It is at these times that our faith is tested.
I know God provides, but let me just do my thing to make sure we don’t run into trouble, surely this is how God is providing for us. I still constantly struggle with this. How do I know that the solutions I am coming up with are God providing, or me just making a plan to get through in my own strength?
I have heard many stories of people who know people who have had miraculous provision in desperate situations, and remember thinking to myself “why does that never happen to me”. Instead of being grateful and in awe of God who provides for each of people, I would be jealous of those who had these miracles happening for them. What a selfish, spoiled brat attitude I have. Stamping my feet and throwing a tantrum spiritually because God didn’t do that for me. Wow, I am dumbstruck that I could be such a brat towards God and think that He owes me more evidence that He loves me.
I want to take myself by the scruff of the neck and say “Hey, doofus, shut up and realise the intense love He has for you. He sent His ONLY Son to DIE for you, so that you could be adopted into His family, and you think He owes you MORE proof that He loves you. Wake up girlie, there is no greater proof.”
I still struggle with falling back into old patterns of thinking, but with God’s help and His Word I can find many reasons to be grateful, to praise Him to come to Him for rest.
So what started out as a few thoughts on our relationship with God turned into something a little different than I imagined at the end, but that’s fine.