Thanksgiving is almost here and I am EXTREMELY...
Thats right. Today, I am branching out in a whole new way. I'm trying reverse psychology on myself. I tell people all the time (or at least, think) that your ability to be a good Christian is directly proportionate to how thankful you are about what God has done for you. Time to go the opposite direction and just shrug my shoulders at God.
I'm starting to waffle about the whole "you should be thankful!" approach. What if I was completely ungrateful? Would Jesus' atoning grace still justify me? Can I still be a good Christian if I a) am actually ungrateful. b) totally oblivious of God's saving work, thus unable to be grateful or not.
Lets hit the first option...first. The idea is that when I sin knowingly I am telling God, "Whatever you've done for me, thanks, but no thanks." and thus I turn my back on the gift. Thats being ungrateful, right? But when I stop and think about it, faith is not the same thing as knowing specific facts. In...fact, faith is believing regardless of what you see. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. But the notion of being grateful often takes overtones of knowing better than the ungrateful. Catch what I mean? Rather than becoming the ultimate sign of the presence of faith, it instead becomes just another measure for me to judge my enemies (ungrateful) or split hairs about who's a better Christian. (For example, Sally is so much more thankful for what Jesus did for her, she's a saint, she is). Are faith and gratefulness equally proportionate? Do I have to have one to have the other?
which leads us to the 2nd option - If I DO have faith that God has saved me, but I don't understand how, or even entirely why, does that have any ability to negate (or produce) thankfulness in myself? The more I know, the more appreciative I am right? Well how come then there are country bumpkins who can't add 2 plus 2 but are the most appreciative, Jesus lovin folk in the world and are better Christians than I!?
This much is certain, being blessed, and being grateful are two slightly different things. I think the semon on the mount shows that. Matthew 5 - the beatitudes show that despite all appearance to the contrary, the poor are blessed. The meek are blessed. etc. etc. etc. They should actually be grateful for persecution. But are they? Are we doing the poor a favor by telling them, "Wow, jeepers, you should be so glad you are poor - that means you are blessed! Lets have a happy party because you can't afford decent healthcare!" But my ability to be grateful for the saving act of Jesus Christ does not negate or produce a greater effect. Catch my drift?
I'm saying I'm saved, regardless of my attitude to it. But I am saved. Assurance is in that.
ah, but for that I should be thankful right? Nope. Today - I'm going to be as apathetic as possible and we'll see how that works. Truth be told, just telling someone they should be grateful is like telling someone they should have faith. It seems often people either have it or they don't. Lord I believe, help my unbelief!
So I'm telling you, if you are thankful, great. If you aren't, well...I'm sorry, what could we do to get there?
When you are done doing a few mental jumping-jacks,
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