Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Devotional: What Are You Thankful For?

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I use the Journible's for my daily devotions.  It's a series of books that takes you through various books of the Bible. But here's the catch: You write the passages out by hand on the right side and write your thoughts about what you have just copied on the left side.  Scattered throughout are prompts for thinking about what you have just copied from God's Word.

For the verse above, there was a prompt.  What are you thankful for?  Compare that to what Paul is thankful for.

As I read down through chapter 1 I found that Paul was thankful for the spiritual progress of his readers.  Comparing that to what I am thankful for, was rather eye opening.  Instead of being thankful for the spiritual progress of others, my list included things like creature comforts, and temporal issues.  Paul had an "others focus" while I had a "me focus".  Well, not totally a "me focus", but the things I was thankful for regarding others had more to do with temporal issues being resolved than thanksgiving for other's spiritual growth.

That is quite a contrast, and not one I'm proud of.  I think it shows how materialistic and obsessed with comfort we have become.  The truth is, we grow more spiritually when things are not easy for us.  We have to depend on God more when things are tough.  It deepens our trust in Him and shapes us spiritually into the person God wants us to be.

Paul is such an example for us in this way.  By God's grace I want to focus more on being thankful for the spiritual growth I see in others and less on my creature comforts.  There's nothing wrong with being thankful for what God has provided us temporally...we should thank Him for these things, but let's see if we can go deeper and thank Him for the spiritual growth that we see in others and then go one step further...bless that person by telling them what you are thanking God for...that's what Paul did.

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