Over the past few weeks I have been listening to a sermon series called “American Idols” and we have been studying and examining various idols that we often fall prey to: comfort, politics, technology, etc and how it is creating a generation of people who miss relationships, opportunities and blessings because we are so consumed with the temporary. This week, as I was sitting down to write this blog post, I received an email from one of the church leaders addressing the coming service Sunday morning. His words penetrated my heart so much and tied so completely to the theme of this month’s devotional, Gracious Gratitude, that I thought I would share his words with you in hopes they encourage you as well. Here’s what he wrote:
Pride in our hearts is the root cause of idols being in our lives, thinking that we know better than our Creator. Either we trust God fully or we trust ourselves. Either we obey God fully or we put our confidence in someone or something else, giving that person or thing authority in our life. Partial trust is still distrust. Partial obedience is still disobedience. So how does the idea of thankfulness or gratefulness remove the pride from our hearts?
True gratefulness reflects humility in our hearts in which we cannot boast in ourselves. In other words, we can’t be truly thankful for the hope that we have in Jesus and make life decisions based solely on our own judgement. We can’t truly be thankful for the way that God provides for us and yet spend our time and resources the way we see fit, not submitting to Him as Provider. Our thankfulness to God is recognizing His Lordship and control over our lives. This expels any pride in our hearts that would allow us to trust in ourselves, causing us to be ungrateful. As we realize the pride in our hearts and are awakened to the idols created from that pride, let’s allow our gratefulness for the cross and what Jesus has done for us to expel these idols.
I don’t know about you, but I often could use an attitude adjustment when it comes to thankfulness. I say that I’m thankful, but do I act like it? Do I spend my time, my money, my thoughts and my words from an attitude of gratefulness or do I spend them the way that I see fit? An idol of pride? Ouch. Philippians 4: 6-7 says, “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we approach the throne through prayer, we are told we can ask our requests boldly (Hebrews 4:16) but that we must ask with thanksgiving. And the result? Peace… the kind that surpasses all understanding. Oh, praise Jesus that when we have a humble attitude of thankfulness that He will fill our lives with peace! Join with me this month as we focus on being truly and humbly grateful and learn to have lasting satisfaction in Him.
I started my page with a few splatters of Creative Retreat’s Peachy Keen pigment ink in the background and then built my title with various elements from the Gracious Gratitude Kit. Then, using some of the faithfilled digitals, I filled in a few of the “empty” spaces. I topped my page with a homemade bow clip and the button. You can find all of the elements from this month’s kit in the Creative Retreat shop.