I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)
I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with friends and family, or perhaps you were simply alone with your God. Did you take the time to write down your top ten blessings of the year? If not, I hope you will do this and make it a habit each year. I can tell you from personal experience, it has returned multiple rewards to our family over the past twenty years.
On Wednesday we saw how we are “curved inward” by nature. And because of this condition, even after we have been saved, we must be incredibly intentional about living a life marked by Thanks-Living. Writing out our blessings and keeping them before us is one way to do this. Today I want to share the key that unlocks the door leading to Thanks-Living every day of your life, which is living in the tension between an attitude of gratitude and an attitude of groaning.
Let me explain. An attitude of gratitude is the disposition of the disciple of Christ who understands His words from the cross: “It is finished!” Jesus rescued you from bondage to sin, Satan, and death. You have, by grace through faith, been washed clean by His precious blood and brought into His family of faith. Jesus finished every aspect of God’s unfolding plan of redemption—living a sinless life and then paying the penalty for all our sin by drinking the cup of God’s wrath. And, because of the resurrection on the third day, we know that God accepted the perfect, atoning sacrifice of His life and death. God’s stamp of approval is the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. A dead Jesus was placed in that tomb, but He walked out of it alive and walked right into your heart. An attitude of gratitude is the only reasonable response to our rescue, and it is the foundation upon which to build of life of Thanks-Living. But that’s not all!
An attitude of groaning is the disposition of the disciple of Christ who understands this world is not all there is. As creation itself groans (Romans 8:22), we groan because of the brokenness of everything around us. We too groan because the world cannot fulfill its promises to us. We groan because we have tasted the pleasures of this temporal world and realize that they never fully satisfy. We groan because we know we are not yet the person God has created and called us to be. We groan because no matter how good things might be, they are never good enough and deep down inside our souls we know it. Finally, we groan because we know we are decaying and will one day die. We know this is not the way the world began, but, because of sin, it is the way it is today. So we live in the tension between an attitude of gratitude and an attitude of groaning.
But one day soon, we will cross the Jordan and we will finally and fully experience every promise we have been given, because all God’s promises are “YES” and “AMEN” in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Groaning reminds us that the best is yet to come, and gratitude reminds us that God is progressively freeing us from the bondage to the unfilled promises of everything this world has to offer us.
So regardless of where this message finds you today, live your life within the tension of deep gratitude and daily groaning, and you will find yourself living a life of Thanks-Living. I assure you, there is no better place to live on your way to glory.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!