How can you take the sour load life dumps on you and squeeze out a glass of something sweet? Your heart was created by a Designer to do 7 very specific things as you live your life in “Lemon Land.” Every one of these 7 things flows out of a very specific character quality: FAITH!
Catch up on the first 2 parts of this series:
PART 1 – Staying sweet (and not becoming sour) requires DISCIPLINE.
PART 2 – Staying sweet requires PERSPECTIVE.
AND TODAY – –
PART 3: Staying sweet requires FAITH.
We’ve already established that gratitude is a proof of having a sweet attitude. A sour person is never sincerely grateful. Gratitude happens from trusting God’s goodness, wisdom, love, and strength. When things look terrible, when it seems God is not there, when it feels like your prayers have not been answered, to still respond well – takes FAITH.
Just like gratitude is a proof of character, so lack of gratitude measures a person’s heart. I Corinthians 10:9-10 identifies two incorrect attitudes that offend God (and He is NOT easily offended):
- Testing Him
Do you ever do either of those things?
The passage goes on to identify two punishments the Israelites suffered for these offenses: death by snakes and death by the destroying angel. YIKES! These punishments were severe for behaviors that apparently God considers severe. (Another example in Numbers 21:4–9.)
Note: Grumbling takes place when there is a lack of gratitude. Lack of gratitude flows directly from:
- not trusting that God cares
- concluding God is not doing His job good enough
- refusing to believe God is capable of intervening (or not eagerly expecting Him to)
- not wanting to do it God’s way.
Lack of gratitude is a wall. A blockade. A divide. It blocks:
- your ability to recognize how God has chosen to provide
- what God wants to do in your life – and through your life for others.
Lack of gratitude is a subtle form of pride. We expect something we think is better, something more, something of OUR choosing. A person who is not grateful is never happy, never content.
Conversely, when a person is genuinely grateful, they find it a lot harder to sin. Thankfulness is a kind of “auto deterrent” for sin. No wonder God repeats His message through Scripture – “be thankful, praise the Lord, have a grateful heart, give thanks.”
God knows how He formed the human heart. He knows:
- what keeps your treasured heart in the right place (resolve to plant and stay)
- how your heart would function (operate in all life conditions)
- how it could regain balance (keep you upright and rebounding)
- how it should side-step character lapses (maneuvers that show alertness and caution)
- how it would find joy in seasons of sorrow (maneuvers that show resilience)
- how it must literally partner with Him in the process of transformation (belonging and purpose)
- how it could miraculously rise up to re-connect you to Himself AND to the person you were created to be (true identity and intentional design).
Why are we talking so much about gratitude in an article that is supposed to focus on how faith makes you sweet? Because all these things that flow directly from a perspective of gratitude require FAITH. Deliberate faith. STUBBORN faith. Resolved faith. In essence, faith makes you sweeter.
So, if you want to sin less, adopt a grateful heart. You bet it’s a challenge! In fact, at the very point where it is difficult to be thankful – right there – choose to exercise discipline. Choose to practice the art of godly perspective. Choose to live with the only element that truly pleases God – faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6)
Just get stubborn about this! Bring all 3 components in this series of articles together and DO THEM!
* Much of this post was an excerpt from my book Reach Back: Intentionally Reaching Back to God. To purchase this book, click REACH BACK.
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