I have been thinking this week about an attitude of gratitude and how a lack thereof seems to be the basis for every sin we can commit against God.
Nothing we can do to offend Him seems to be independent of Him and of the grace He has so freely given us. He encloses us from all sides, and so does His grace. Even when we act out against Him, we have to go through layers of His grace to do so.
Everything we do to sin against Him seems to reinforce the idea that we think we don’t need Him and His stinking grace. That we can make it on our own.
Ironically, the American pioneer spirit that morphed into the American entrepreneurial spirit often seems to credit man for his achievements on his own, not factoring in the God who gave him his abilities and his opportunities.
Absolutely right, President Obama. We didn’t build that on our own. American ingenuity did not happen in a vacuum. But it also wasn’t empowered by government or by a community of other people. At its base, it was empowered by God. Everything is.
Knowing that, what do we do to be in relationship with God? We acknowledge our neediness in relation to His abundance. We accept His gifts, freely given to us. Most of all, we accept the gift of His Son whom He sent at Christmastime to pay the penalty for our sins.
Sadly, many people go through life with no understanding that they owe gratitude to God. They think God will be lucky to get them as followers. And they put off the time when they will become His followers. They may intend to do that after they have pursued every dream they have, independently of Him.
Problem with that is, there is never a good time to suddenly switch to a planned attitude of gratitude. There are so many reasons to justify remaining independent of God. And, when we do, we may find a way of becoming bitter with God when He speaks into our lives.
Case in point, how many people live their lives independently of God, then consider following Him when they grow older and suddenly face cancer or heart disease? Problem with that is that those conditions can produce immense fear and depression, merely by inhabiting the human body. Family members may struggle with the same emotions, trying to care for us while we are ill. If we have not previously begun a relationship with God, there is a very good chance that we won’t see anything in these situations to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in us now. Quite the opposite, we might get downright angry with God for allowing heart disease or cancer, even in a person 60 or 70 years old who has previously had a healthy life with many travels and adventures.
Statistics show that it is extremely rare for a person who has lived life independently of God to suddenly turn to Him in the 60’s or 70’s. There is a very good reason God told us to remember our Creator in the days of our youth.
I plead with everyone reading this to get right with God this Christmastime. There will probably not be a time later on when you are more likely to do so.
And . . . if we fail to plan for eternity, we default to having the same situation in eternity as we had in this life. An eternity independent of God. In a place called hell.