June 26, 2017

Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 2

Welcome to Week 3 of the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See the Introduction for more details. 

Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude

There is so much good truth packed into this chapter! Of course, it starts off with the three things named in the title — guilt, grace, and gratitude. These three things are at the very heart of the gospel:

  • We are born with inescapable guilt, as a result of our innate sin nature.
  • But over that guilt, God pours undeserved grace and provides a way of redemption from sin’s curse.
  • As a result, we should respond with unbridled gratitude to God for all things!

And yet, that gratitude is easier to theorize about than to actually put into practice. The author points out that, “for too many of us, responding to God’s gift of grace with deep, profound gratitude is not something that shows up in our lives every day.” We talk about it, but never actually do it.

What’s the solution?

According to this chapter, it’s two-fold:

1. We must make a conscious choice to train ourselves in gratitude: “…start by making it our goal to have a heart that’s as grateful toward God as the abounding grace He has poured into our life.” If you aim at nothing, you’ll get there. But if you set a goal, and consistently work at making choices that will move you towards that goal, then you will get there someday. But it is a choice, and it does require work.

2. We must focus on the object of our gratitude. This is where gratitude transforms into a particularly Christian virtue. Because true gratitude is directed at some object or being. It’s not just a good feeling that comes when you get good news, find a parking spot, or hear from an old friend. It’s not just “the power of positive thinking.” No — as Christians, we must have more than that. Our gratitude must be directed to God Himself, the Creator and Sustainer of all things!

“To be thankful to the living God implies a corresponding level of trust in Him
that can only reside in a believer’s heart.”

This is a higher level of gratitude that we are called to practice. We need to move beyond the general feeling of gratitude, to recognition of the good Giver of perfect gifts. We need acknowledge that He is the source of all blessings, and address our thankfulness to Him specifically.

True gratitude, Christian gratitude, doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
  It has an Object.” {tweet that!}

So what’s the result of this type of Christian thanks-giving?

More giving, more gratitude, and more grace!

God gives us grace and, in turn, we give gratitude back to Him. As we give Him gratitude, we also give His grace to others. As we give that grace to others, they respond by giving gratitude back to God. Our guilt is replaced by giving, as we respond in gratitude to God’s grace. {tweet that!}

It’s like grace → giving → gratitude, ad infinitum.

And grace upon grace…

Choosing Gratitude Study

 

Now it’s YOUR turn!

  • What did you love in chapter 2? What didn’t you love?
  • What do you think about the different levels of gratitude? Do you see a difference between what the unsaved world offers as gratitude and what Christians should practice?
  • What about the idea of giving, as a result of gratitude? What type of giving tends to come from this gratitude?

As always, feel free to share your own blog posts about the book in the comment section here! Please include the graphic in your post, with a link back to this blog.

Tweet about it! Or send your own tweets using #ChoosingGratitude to share what you’re learning, and invite your friends to join our study!


Comments

  1. It seems there is a difference between what the unbelieving world shows as gratitude and what Christians are to practice as gratitude. (I like that gratitude rhymes with attitude, as for me gratitude should be my attitude, not just something I remember to do when I feel I have something in particular to be thankful or grateful for.) The unbelieving world seems to feel a need to express thanks, but they do not offer that thanks to God; as if they are accepting the gifts but not the Giver of those gifts. Before I was saved by God through our Lord Jesus, I was thankful for all kinds of things, and even remembered to thank those who helped me or gave me things. But I didn’t thank God and it didn’t even occur to me to thank Him, after all, I hardly gave Him a thought. So while it seems that most people do feel thankful, I think that those who don’t have Christ as Lord do not make it a practice to thank GOD when they are thankful.

    • You know, I don’t think I’d ever really thought about that before reading this chapter. It’s a challenge to make sure we direct our thankfulness to the Giver of all blessings, rather than just “feeling thankful” for things. But I’m sure it pleases Him when we do so!

      • I don’t think I had ever thought about that before either, Elizabeth. I do hope that it pleases God when we remember Him and give Him our thanks and gratitude! I think maybe we feel a deeper sense of satisfaction when we direct our thanks to God, like the thanks has more meaning.

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