I have thinking about gratitude and its place in the life of every Christian; and as I search the Scriptures, I find no place to support that having a grateful heart will lead us to God or will affirm our walking with the Lord. The only way to God the Father is Jesus Christ and this way is only open when we repent from our sins.
If we don't repent from our sins, if we don't see our desperate need for God every day, we can have the longest gratitude list ever, we could fill pages and pages on a journal and yet not be saved. Having a grateful heart is not even listed among the fruit of the Spirit:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" Gal. 5:21- 23
Neither on the list of virtues listed on 1 Peter 1 which Paul gives to remind us that "if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ":
"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The 1st Epistle of John was written so that we could use it as a "guide" a "test" to examine if we are are truly walking in the Lord (2:2; 5:13), and nowhere, not even once in all the Epistle, having a grateful heart is listed among the marks of a true Christian.
The Bible doesn't teach us that having a grateful heart is a sign of a true believer. There are many, many, many pagans walking with a grateful heart out there. (In fact, did you know that a "grateful attitude" is an absolute important part of the people who practice yoga?)
Gratefulness doesn't draw us closer to God according to the word of God; instead, the Bible teaches us that being close to God will make us grateful.
Being grateful, dear sisters, is not necessarily what precedes the miracle. What precedes the miracle is the work of the Spirit in our hearts drawing us to Him. Convicting us from our sins. Breaking our pride and will. Gratitude in the life of a Christian woman is nothing else but the natural response of a person who knows that she does not deserve to eat at the Master's table and yet she is invited to join the feast.
Gratitude is what follows the miracle.
We give thanks not because we expect a miracle, we give thanks for the miracles that surround us. For the graces that we have and for all those that will come because the greatest miracle has already occurred, we have been given a new heart, a heart of flesh that is willing to bow low and recognize that from God's hand we receive everything that comes to our lives, whether we like it or not.
James Smith (1800's) said it well,
"True Christian love is grateful love. We love him — because he first loved us. The loving Christian is always grateful. Where there is much love — there is much gratitude. When filled with love — we praise God for every drop, for every crumb. Our smallest mercies appear large, and God gets thanks then — for that which is scarcely acknowledged at another time."
Gratitude to God just as our love to God, is a response to Him. We give our love and our thanks to God because He already performed the miracle in us. Because He changed us, because He opened our eyes to see we see clearly that He has given much and we don't deserve any of it.
I keep a list, I count His mercies to train myself, to subdue my prideful heart, to remind my soul of its duty to praise God. I give thanks because I need to remind myself that I am a slave redeemed by Jesus' blood to give glory to His name. I give thanks because when I see the life God has given me, I see nothing but mercies, endless mercies.
I bow low and give thanks today....
1226. Being a slave of Christ.
1227. Having eyes to see that all I have, all that I am is because of Him, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
1228. I am grateful, Lord, for the Word, our sure hope.
1229. Thank you, Lord, for the birds, how you provide food for them and as I watch them, I am reminded of your faithfulness.
1230. A place to worship God with brothers and sisters in Christ who love your Word.
1231. Little hands holding mine.
1232. The life of Persis, a faithful woman, who trusts in God's sovereignty and is has been an encouragement to me.
1233. A Kindle with many books to read.
1234. My husband's wisdom.
1235. A call to persevere in prayer.
1236. Summer fruit.
1237. Beauty to hold, vibrant colors, the wonderful creation of God.
1238. Two new turtles and a happy girl.
1239. Dad and little one out in a date.
1240. Reading glasses.
1241. A camera to capture those moments that make our days. (even though this week, I didn't use very much!)
1242. Planning a great idea with my blogging friends for you. Yes for you... (wait until April!)
1243. Having a son who loves to converse for hours with me.
1244. A homemade notebook. (sorry... no pics. yet)
1245. My memory Moleskine.
1246. This place.
May you find today joy in Him alone (not only in His gifts!)