My daughter is at an age (3) where she says very funny things that really make me think.
The other day, I was getting her dressed to take her brother to school. As I went to get her something out of her drawer, she said, “Let me do it. I can do it!” She tried to reach into the top drawer, couldn’t, then asked me to lift her up. When she got what she needed, she said, “I did it all by myself!”
She did what she could by herself. But she didn’t even notice that she needed (and received) help, without which she wouldn’t have come close to getting what she wanted.
Too often, we as Christians either don’t realize that we receive help from God, or we do realize it, but do not give God credit for the good produced through us. Both views demonstrate pride in our lives. The first does so through a belief that we can accomplish good on our own. The second indicates an ungrateful heart.
In my life, I find that it is when I get busy that I get ungrateful. It’s rarely an intentional, conscious thing. But it does make me realize, upon reflection, that praising God for His goodness is not my default reaction.
When I pray, before I ask for anything, I have made it a habit to praise God and thank Him for blessing me. But again, I had to create a pattern of behavior in my life in order to do what ought to be a natural pattern of thanksgiving.
It took me a long time to understand that trusting God is true strength. I understand that anything of worth within me is there because God blessed me. “Jon” doesn’t even enter the equation. If I am helpless, and God is God, and I trust Him to supply my needs and be my strength, I can truly be confident.
The Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). God loves His children so much that He provides for us, blesses us, heals us, sustains us, completes us, justifies us, frees us… and on and on. “Thankful” should be just the BEGINNING of what we feel toward God for all that.