Ever watched a spoiled child in action? No matter how much his parents give him, he throws tantrums at the slightest deprivation. She believes that it is her natural right to get everything she wants and will let you know it if you do not please her. There are few things more annoying in life than a spoiled child.
Sometimes, I wonder if we are God’s spoiled children. He is so good to us in every way. He sent his only Son to live the righteous life we could not and die for our sins. He gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell us, to conform us to the image of Christ and to empower us to do all that God wants to do in us. He manifests his love and grace to us day by day.
And yet so often we fail to give thanks. We act like the children of Israel who grumbled against God and Moses regardless of how great the blessings which God poured out on them. Ten plagues – complain. Red Sea – gripe. Manna – grumble. Water from the rock – whine.
Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them even bothered to come back and say thank you. Were the others thankful? Perhaps. Probably. But they did not say so. They did not give thanks.
Do you ever find yourself in a vortex of ingratitude? How can people who have been blessed so richly find ourselves walking through life in bitterness and anger, complaining and griping? Perhaps we have the attitude of entitlement that spoiled children so often exhibit.
The Secret to Thanksgiving
A spoiled child believes he deserves everything he wants. He has been raised to believe that his parents will cater to his every whim. Unfortunately, we have developed a twisted doctrine of self-glory. I deserve good things and only good things from the hand of God. It is my divine right to live in peace, prosperity, health and comfort all the days of my life. If anything bad happens to me, it is wrong, unfair – a travesty of justice.
That is why a biblical doctrine of human nature inspires us to true thanksgiving. If I think of myself as royalty – a scion of rank and privilege, I might be deceived into thinking that God’s goodness is something I deserve. If I realize that I am a sinner, born under the wrath of God and well-deserving of an eternal hell, my attitude begins to change.
- I deserve hell, but Jesus purchased for me a place in heaven.
- I deserve the judgment of God and his full wrath against my sin, but Jesus took that wrath and paid the full price for my sin.
- While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.
- I am unrighteous, but have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
- I deserve to be cast out into outer darkness, but I have been included in Christ.
- Due to no merit in me, God adopted me into his family and gave me an inheritance in Christ.
- I have no goodness of my own, but God’s spirit produces the fruit of goodness in me.
- I was lost, but in Christ I am found.
- I was blind, but in Christ I see.
I deserve nothing, but I have received everything. So, no matter how bad things are I have every reason to give thanks. If I was starving to death, abandoned by every friend and loved one on earth, having had every possession I owned stolen from me, was inflicted with every disease know to mankind, then tortured and put to death for my faith, I would have every reason to give thanks as I breathed my last breath. I am an adopted son of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, being conformed to the perfect image of my Savior, and destined for eternal glory. These realities to not change when circumstances change.
So, considering these great truths, I can do as Paul commanded – give thanks always for all things in Christ.