All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
–1 Peter 5:5
Why do we often have a hard time expressing gratitude to God? One enemy of gratitude is pride. Pride is the belief that every good thing in our life is the result of what we have done.
Proverbs 8:13 says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” Proverbs 11:2, says “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.” And in 1 Peter 5:5, Peter said, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Why does God hate pride so much? Think about this: God’s plan is to draw people to Himself. He is doing everything He can to draw you and me to Himself. And yet, when we are infected with pride, when we start taking credit for the good things in our lives, we are failing to give credit to God. We cannot give credit to God if we are taking the credit for something in our lives. Therefore, pride turns our hearts away from God.
Let’s be honest: we all tend to take credit for good things in our lives. Somebody compliments our home, and we think, “If you worked as hard as I do, then you could have a beautiful home too.” Or somebody says something nice about our appearance, and we say, “Of course I look great. I work out, and I watch my diet.” Or somebody compliments our child, and we say, “Of course my kid is wonderful, because I am a great parent.” The Bible says humility is the recognition that every good thing in our lives is the result of what God has done for us. You cannot give God credit and also take credit yourself for the good things in life.
Another enemy of gratitude is busyness. Life is moving so quickly that we often fail to stop and take time to give God praise for what He has done for us. Remember the story in Luke 17 about the 10 lepers Jesus healed, and only one of them returned to give thanks to Jesus? Jesus said to him, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?” (17:17). Many times, the busyness of everyday life keeps us from expressing gratitude to God.
Those of you who are parents or grandparents, have you ever had this happen? You knock yourself out to do something nice for your child. You are so excited about the gift or the activity you have planned for them. The day comes, the child receives the gift, and you wait and wait for those two words. Finally, you say, “Aren’t you going to say something?” They roll their eyes and begrudgingly say, “Thank you.” How does it make you feel when you do something nice for your child, but they do not express their gratitude? That is the same way it makes God feel when we fail to thank Him for His blessings in our lives. Becoming thankful is one of the key principles for becoming like Jesus Christ.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Count Blessings, Not Sheep” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.