What a mess!!
Sometimes it’s easy to look at our life and wonder “Can God do anything with this?” We look at all of our faults and question if there is any way that He will ever be able to truly change the mess inside. But the good news is He already has done something about the mess! The word of God tells us that we are redeemed and restored to glory – that old things have passed away and all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
But the enemy will lie to us so consistently and so believably pointing out our flaws and our failures that our consciousness of who we are in Christ becomes deadened and our focus on the lies becomes acute.
What is the solution for this? I believe that thanksgiving plays a major role in keeping God at the center of our focus and not placing weight on the wrong things. Do we have flaws? Yes, we do. Do we have failures? Yes, we do. But believe it or not, those things do not define us. God has clothed us in the righteousness of Christ and he sees us as perfectly redeemed and restored. He doesn’t see us that way as in seeing us through a hopeful vision of who we may become someday. He sees us that way NOW.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
So why do we continue to struggle with the old man? Why is it so easy to see ourselves as defeated, as a bad person, as a failure?
It’s because we have lost our vision of the truth. But thanksgiving will put the truth back in the center of our focus. It will put the miraculous work that God has done in us and for us on Center Stage. We can’t afford to lose the awareness of God’s presence for one moment or we will succumb to the pressures of this life and to a worldview of ourselves and our limitations.
We serve a God who is unlimited and who calls us to live an unlimited life of adventure and holiness, so a small-minded view of ourselves will hinder God’s plan.
- Do you wake up excited for a new day? Do you rise in the morning with an awareness of God and a feeling of intimacy with him?
- Or do you wake up feeling already defeated, hemmed-in by your life, by your obligations and by your poor self-esteem?
- Do you see other people’s successes and envy them because you feel you will never have success of your own?
- Do you see goodness in other people and feel condemned by it because you wonder if God is disappointed in you?
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God adores us and loves us the way he does when we are so busy comparing ourselves to other people. But He does love us each uniquely. He created us and he loves who he created. It is unhealthy to focus more on the problems in our lives and in ourselves than on the goodness of God. Thanksgiving turns our perspective around changing our thinking from focusing on the negative and on our failures to focusing on the work of God.
- Do you want to wake up with a positive attitude about the day and about your life?
- Do you want to stay aware of the goodness of God throughout the day.
Thankfulness is the key to keeping God at the center of our focus. We can set a reminder on our phone or place sticky notes around our house to remind us to be thankful. We can teach our children the difference between being thankful for what they have and complaining about what they don’t have.
I was with a mother last night who had her daughter with her. The daughter is around 10 or 11 years old. When they were leaving the cafe where we were meeting, the daughter started to complain that the mom hadn’t bought her a cookie. The mom calmly stopped her by lifting up her finger and said, “That’s complaining. That’s not being thankful. How about being thankful for the wonderful salad with chicken and tomatoes that mom bought you? How about being thankful for your family and for your blessings, like swimming lessons?” The daughter proceeded to try to voice her complaint but the mom stopped her again and said, “If you want to complain, you’re not going to do it front of me. You’re blessed and you need to say ‘Thank you’ to me, not gripe and complain.” The daughter, seeing that her complaining wasn’t getting her what she wanted relented and said, “Thank you for dinner.” I thought that was such a great lesson. Instead of telling her daughter that she didn’t want to hear the griping, the mother focused on the fact that being thankful should be her attitude and she helped her daughter by focusing her thoughts on things to be grateful for.
Let’s parent ourselves well and stop that little griping child inside from voicing complaint after complaint. Let’s put a finger to our mouth and stop ourselves from being unthankful, rather reminding ourselves of things that we can be grateful for! Amen!!