EXHORTATION – Psalm 103:2
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Ingratitude is what happens when we fail to give God credit and glory for the good gifts he has given us. And there are two ways that ingratitude manifests itself in our lives:
The first is to receive and enjoy all his good gifts while not acknowledging that God is the one giving them. It’s to forget that whatever good you possess was ultimately given to you, not earned. You didn’t choose your family, your ethnicity, your talents, where you were born, or when you were born. Therefore, Bless the Lord by remembering that every good and perfect gift comes from him.
The second way ingratitude manifests itself is by refusing to enjoy the gifts God gives; to throw those gifts on the ground in front of him. Because they are afraid of enjoying “things” more than God, or to give into the “desires of the flesh” many Christians believe that the only way we can know we’re devoted to God is if we detest the stuff of earth. Just like the Pharisees, they refuse to smile or laugh, and if they do enjoy a meal by accident, they muster up false guilt to atone for their non-sin. The problem is there’s no such thing as the spiritual gift of sourpuss.
The path of obedience is to accept the good gifts of God, enjoy them to the fullest, all while keeping them in their proper creaturely place.
So, stop mindlessly eating and enjoy the meal God sets before you as you remember him. Stop mowing your lawn because you’re in competition with your neighbor. Maintain it because God gave it to you as a gift and a stewardship. Read a good book, laugh with your children, cultivate your talents, and if you begin to question whether your being ungrateful—then go to the Lord in humility and confession. His Word is the textbook for discerning your heart, and prayer is the classroom. Let’s do that now.
We know that every good and perfect gift comes down from you. Every talent, every dollar, every home, every morsel on every plate. And so we seek to live lives that keep all these things in their proper place. We want to bless your name and remember everything you have given us.
Sadly, we confess that we often take your good gifts without recognizing the giver. We often want what you can give more than we want you.
We confess that at other times we refuse to accept the good gifts you are giving. We have not shown gratitude because we have refused to enjoy the world you made.
Father, forgive us for our ingratitude. Help us to cultivate the habit of thanking you and blessing your name.
We know that if we say “Amen” to this prayer while intending to hold on to our sin, this prayer will be ineffectual. So hear us now, as we confess our individual sin to you in silence.
In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Ezekiel 36:25-26
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.