Monday, August 8, 2011

Mental Vitamins: Gratefulness

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”  Exodus 16:6-8

Have you ever considered that when we complain about our circumstance we are actually insulting God?

I strive to not be a complainer. I never want to be ungrateful in my circumstances. I am undeserving of everything that I have or will ever have. But we as humans tend to have this attitude of entitlement. If things don't go "our way" we feel we have a right to bellyache about it because - in our minds - we deserve good things to happen to us. Truth is, everything is a gift from God. Each paycheck, each sunrise, each breath, our salvation....we can't earn or deserve any of these things. God freely gives. Yet instead of being thankful for all the things God has given us, we start complaining about the things we want to be different. When we complain we aren't just protesting to the air or complaining to a friend...we are criticizing God...we are declaring that what He has already done for us is not good enough. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better your circumstances and working hard to achieve greater things, but we can strive toward higher goals while still remaining grateful for what we already have.

Complaining, griping, whining and groaning are signs of ungratefulness. So when we feel the urge to complain, we should replace those negative thoughts with a plan on how to achieve our heart's desire, including prayer, while giving thanks for all the things that God has already given us. Life isn't always going to go "our way", but we should remain thankful for the blessings we've already received even when facing life's challenges. 

I've had to address my own ungratefulness throughout my lifetime. I'm not perfect, I face the same challenges everyone else faces and can catch myself in a whine session when things don't go according to MY plan. I have to adjust my own attitude from time to time. For example, I have caught myself complaining about having no car and being forced to carry our groceries each week instead of simply being thankful for the groceries and God providing for our most basic needs. There are plenty of examples of where we can choose to be thankful or choose to be ungrateful. Thankfulness is a decision. And Christ has given us several verses about thankfulness. Here are just a few of those verses that we can turn to each time we feel tempted to complain.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

When we pause and think about all that God has done for us....we really have SO much to be thankful for.

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