Truth Tuesday – Thank you for the Cross
With the glorious Easter celebration just a few days away, I thought I would share with you this excerpt from chapter 2 in Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss:
“We are born in a state of inescapable guilt, lawbreakers, under the just condemnation of a holy God, attempting (but unable) through human effort to make ourselves worthy and acceptable to God, good enough to earn His favor. Into this hopeless situation comes the undeserved grace of God through Jesus Christ. Christ, who unlike us, perfectly fulfilled the law of God, died in our place as our perfect Substitute, taking the judgement we rightly deserved. His sacrifice on the cross means that we can stop trying to jump through spiritual hoops or manufacture our own righteousness (an impossible feat!). In that spectacular, extravagant gift of grace, everything we need for living in right relationship with our Creator has been provided. Christ’s life has become ours. His death has paid the sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His resurrection has assured us that not even the grace can keep God from fulfilling His promises. We are even now in forever fellowship with our Heavenly Father. It’s the ultimate miracle. Certain death has been replaced by certain life. We who would never have sought after God on our own have been redeemed by One who sought us in His love and mercy. ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8). That’s the gospel – the good news! Our guilt has been swallowed up in the gift of God’s grace – the only thing big and powerful enough to forever and fully overcome and remove the guilt.”
We have been snatched from the brink of death and the burden of sins have been lifted from our shoulders! We do not have to be dependent on good works and performance to secure our eternal destination. This alone is should be enough to propel us in to never-ending thankfulness! And yet, gratitude is easier to think about and theorize than to actually put into practice. Nancy DeMoss points out that, “for too many of us, responding to God’s gift of grace with deep, profound gratitude is not something that shows up in our lives everyday.” We talk about it, but never actually do it.
How can we change this? What’s the solution?
According to chapter 2 in Choosing Gratitude, it’s two-fold:
1. We must make a conscious choice to train ourselves in gratitude: “…start by making it our goal to have a heart that’s as grateful toward God as the abounding grace He has poured into our life.” If you aim at nothing, you’ll get there. But if you set a goal, and consistently work at making choices that will move you towards that goal, then you will get there someday. But it is a choice, and it does require work.
2. We must focus on the object of our gratitude. This is where gratitude transforms into a particularly Christian virtue. Because true gratitude is directed at some object or being. It’s not just a good feeling that comes when you get good news, find a parking spot, or hear from an old friend. It’s not just “the power of positive thinking.” No — as Christians, we must have more than that. Our gratitude must be directed to God Himself, the Creator and Sustainer of all things! This is a higher level of gratitude that we are called to practice. We need to move beyond the general feeling of gratitude, to recognition of the good Giver of perfect gifts. We need acknowledge that He is the source of all blessings, and address our thankfulness to Him specifically.
As you go through this Easter week and beyond, will you join me in making a conscious choice to be grateful and focus on One and Only Giver of grace and forgiveness? Let’s make it a daily practice to be profoundly grateful.
Have a bounding and overflowing week of gratitude~