For a few weeks, I have been asking God what is hindering my relationship with Him. First, I received a call to be re-baptized. I believe God wanted me to give a public testimony of the heart change that has happened in me over the last few years. I was obedient to Him. Then I believed God was telling me I had a stronghold on my finances. I was trusting in the security of the money in the bank and not on Him alone. I followed through on something God had placed on my heart. I am sure I will still have to deal with this stronghold in the future, but for now I can move on. The next thing I heard was my heart was not turned to gratitude. After the Thanksgiving holiday, I hadn’t really considered gratitude to be an issue for me. But the more I think about it, the more certain I am this is a big hindrance in my relationship with Jesus as well as with others.
I was considering Christmas. I was thinking of presents – not in giving but getting. I like certain things from certain places. I would always supply a list for the benefit of getting the things I like. This has been the normal mode of operation during my Mom’s gift giving opportunities. This past year I was faced with the possibilities of getting things that are not on the “approved” list. I was complaining about that fact. When I heard the sermon about gratitude, I immediately thought of my conversation or complaining session. I was not thinking about receiving a gift from someone’s heart, I was thinking about getting something I might not like. I thought of others who get nothing for Christmas, and I felt very ashamed of my attitude. I also thought of the many times I received a gift but thought nothing of it. Looking back, I think I was more entitled to the gift instead of receiving it with gratitude.
I remember my Mom watching me and my sisters open our presents. She was anticipating our reactions. My reactions were less than what they should have been. I wonder how many times I have had the same attitude with God. Probably more times than not. I can imagine Him sitting on His throne watching us as we “unwrap” His blessings. He is sitting there waiting on our reactions, anticipating our thrill of receiving such a great blessing. Then nothing. I am ashamed to admit my ingratitude to the many blessings God has given me. Oh, I might have offered a “thanks” to God, but I most likely didn’t really have the right heart attitude when I said it. I know God wants to give us good gifts. If the reaction is indifference or less than total gratitude, why would He continue to give us good things?
Yes, God has done a work in me, but there is so much more to do. My heart has been replaced, but I still need some heart surgery to fix the areas that are not beating in accordance with God’s heart.
Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Psalm 107:8 (NLT) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)