Grateful and Aware
Disclaimer: Today’s message might come across as ignorant if you are someone who is struggling right now. Please know that when I talk about gratitude and joy, I do not mean ignorance of pain and suffering. If you are facing some deep darkness in your life right now and are struggling to find any joy, I hope that this message will serve as a helpful reminder of what gratitude and joy can look like, even when life seems to crumble around us.
Take a moment with me to reflect upon your existence.
Think about where you are in the universe. A speck in God’s vast, ever-expanding creative work. Think about where you are in your life today and all that God has done for you. Think about all that God has brought you through in your short existence. All the pleasant encounters and moments of joy which led you to the life you now live. Think about the gift of life you have been given. Somehow… in all this stuff, you exist, and you do not go unnoticed.
Sometimes I am reminded of God’s blessings upon my life and I realize how ungrateful I have been because I was too focused on the troubles of each day. When we do this, we are not living our lives in gratitude and we are missing out on the joy of the Spirit.
Jeff Kuhn shared something in his message that I found to be inspiring. When we become Spirit-filled Christians, there is something recognizable about us. It is our gratitude. When we have an attitude of gratitude, we are living a life of worship.
James 1:17 says, “every good and perfect gift is from above”, so when we are grateful for the good things in this life (not just material things, but all the things God has done for us), we are placing our worth and value on God, which is what it means to worship.
How can we not be grateful when we think about our opportunity to embrace each day and whatever that might bring?
Expressing our gratitude to God is an act of worship, and it is our sacrifice of praise a Christ-followers who are placed in an ungrateful world.
Here’s a challenge: Let’s try to wake up every morning and welcome God into our lives with joy. Each day we live is a blessing from God, and each day is another day to give Him praise. Even for that alone I am grateful.
Our Gratitude goes far beyond our circumstances.
We can worship God even when we don’t feel blessed.
We can pour out our praise even when our well feels dry.
We can praise God even when we don’t get a promotion.
God is worthy of praise whether it is a good day or a bad day. Whether it is raining or shining. Whether it is cold or warm. Whether it is a season of scarcity or a season of plenty.
We don’t praise Him just because of the good things in our life… We praise Him because He is good despite the things in our life.
We don’t just count our blessings, we count on God even when we don’t feel His blessings.
1 Peter 1:8-9; “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
I want to tap into the Spiritual Reality.
I want to have an Eternal Perspective.
I want to be Spiritually Awake and Spiritually Aware.
When we do these things, we will begin to see things differently than we did before, we will begin to love more boldly than we did before, we will begin to trust God more fully than we did before, and we will learn have joy again even in the midst of pain and sorrow.
It helps to live a life of remembrance. First and foremost, we remember Christ’s loving sacrifice and resurrection, which is the only reason we can have life today; the fullness of life now, and the promise of life for eternity.
Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.”
Do not forget what you have seen God do in your life, but instead pass that along to others. What those your Deuteronomy 4:9 moments in your life?
Psalm 77: 7-15; Verse 11 says, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; Yes, I will remember your miracles from long ago.”
It is in our human nature to forget God and to feel as though he has rejected us. However, countless times God has redeemed us, saved us from sin, and blessed us.
As humans, we are so quick to focus on the troubles of today and we can forget the God of miracles who has given us life. He has brought us through every trial we have faced up until now.
God will not forsake you. He is with you.
May the Spirit of God restore your awareness of His light-filled presence.
Words from the book, Prayer Seeds, page 15:
“Holy One, awaken my heart. Quiet my mind. Draw back the veil of my illusions to perceive your presence. Settle what stirs endlessly within me. Hush the voice of haste and hurry. Awaken my inner senses to recognize your love hiding beneath the frenzy. Enfold me in your attentiveness. Wrap a mantle of mindfulness around every part of my days. I want to welcome you with joy and focus on your dwelling place. Amen.”