How in the world does God want me to “rejoice always……” (I Thessalonians 5:16), when at times I often feel like lamenting due to life’s many unexpected hurdles, obstacles, twists and turns?
Let’s be honest, some of you have pondered why doesn’t God’s word work for me like it does for others. Well-intentioned friends like Job’s ‘friends’ tell you to keep your head up, but you still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, rather all you hear is the sound of a quickly approaching train.
With that said, despite the twists and/or turns you’re still able to build up enough spiritual strength to pick up your bible and you turn to the above mentioned scripture that tells you to rejoice always and oh by the way, in everything give thanks! You think to yourself, does God have a sense of humor or what?!
Well, I’ve learned that when it comes to God guiding His children through ominous valleys and challenging times, it’s never a joking matter to Him.
The fact is, however, when life overwhelms you, the last thing you want to do is give thanks, right? Look at this way, God’s grace should always be the the key to unlock godly gratitude. Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, “True Christ-centered, grace-motivated gratitude fits life’s most desperate moments and difficult situations. When there are no answers, it gives hope. It transforms overwhelmed strugglers into triumphant conquerors—gratitude is a hard fought, grace infused biblical lifestyle and [its] transforming power is reserved for those who know and acknowledge the giver of every good gift, and who are recipients of His redeeming grace.”
Boom…grace-motivated gratitude is not for the faint at heart. When we truly understand grace—when we see that God only owes us wrath but has provided Christ’s merit to cover our demerit—then everything changes.
At the end of the day, our motivation to live for Christian ethics is not merely to obey some abstract law or a list of rules; rather, our response is provoked by grace-motivated
gratitude. Jesus understood that when He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” If I may have the liberty to paraphrase: “Keep My commandments not because you want to be just, but because you love Me.”
Therefore, despite life’s many hurdles, obstacles, twists and turns we must fully understand it’s only through God’s unmerited favor we’re able to live a life centered around grace-motivated gratitude and obedience!