October 17, 2015

THANKFULNESS FIRST by Bryan Norford



 

Why is it that we tend to blame God for the difficult times of life, but credit ourselves when things go right? Clearly that cussed nature inherited from our earliest forebears still dogs us all, even when we know different.

The exhortations in Scripture and frequent calls from the pulpit to be thankful—even the theme for this month’s blog—only emphasize this tendency. Do we really need a special day in October to be sure we’re thankful?

The Bible even goes so far as to suggest lack of thankfulness is the leading edge of futile thinking, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened,” Romans 1:21, my emphasis.

An inspired thought: clarity of mind comes from thankfulness. Without it our view of life is distorted and unreliable. Absence of thankfulness only feeds into a pervading view that God is somehow responsible for our ills. We concentrate on the darkness around us, with increasing resignation, bitterness, or anger.

None of us reach the older years of life without having faced distressing circumstances. I have been impressed this month with InScribe blogs where members have described the most difficult conditions of life, yet allied with evidence that thankfulness was the bridge holding each one up over those troubled waters.

This thankfulness would not initially be for the experience, but thankfulness during it. As we are exhorted, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. But of greater value is the almost universal idea that adversity brought new understanding of our faith and a more intimate walk with God.

The hardships we experience are not to be desired or sought, but adverse times teach us much we cannot gain in less oppressive episodes. In all circumstances, our joy, peace, and sense of well-being, all depend on being thankful.

I believe that was Paul’s secret to contentment.  “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want,” Philippians 4:12.  

May it always be ours.



5 comments:

  1. To what you have said, Bryan, Amen and Amen! Thanks for this succinct expression of how we can be, and need to be, thankful at all times and in all circumstance.

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  2. "clarity of mind comes from thankfulness." Excellent! simple yet profound

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  3. Bryan, you note that "None of us reach the older years of life without having faced distressing circumstances." I think that's why many Christians, in their older years, are so close to God. Were it not for the distressing circumstances outside our control and ability to manage, we never would have developed such a reliance on our Lord. Good message.

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  4. "Absence of thankfulness only feeds into a pervading view that God is somehow responsible for our ills." That is so true Bryan. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. "sense of well-being . . . depends on being thankful'. This sure rings true with me Bryan. Thank you for this excellent post. It seems like a small thing but thankfulness is so necessary, liberating, and powerful. Thank you again!

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