I’m not always great at verbally expressing my appreciation. If you buy into the love languages model at all, words of affirmation is the lowest for me. Because I don’t receive love through words, I often forget that others do. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own projects and tasks that I’m doing, I forget that people need a verbal expression of things like encouragement, appreciation, and gratitude. This is something that I’m actively working on right now, so I’m a little more conscious of gratitude when I see it and when I don’t.
I know that I sometimes take others for granted, which is a problem, but a bigger problem is that I sometimes take the Lord for granted. While I always know that what he has done and is currently doing for me is incredible, sometimes that truth just doesn’t sink in as deeply for me. There are many days that it’s easy for me to go about my day foolishly thinking that I am in control and am responsible for the good things in my life. These are the days my gratitude level is severely lacking.
As I read through Nehemiah 10, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude. This chapter outlines all of the rules that the people agreed to follow as they dedicated their lives to God. And these are no joke! This covenant they were entering influenced how they would relate to other nations, how they would conduct business, and how they would connect with God and others. This was a serious and somber moment and not one they stepped into lightly.
This was a huge step of obedience in their lives. This was their homecoming after years of running from him. And while I was so happy for them for taking this incredible step, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that our relationship with God isn’t dependent upon our own willpower or our ability to follow rules or instructions. The people of Israel had their covenant they made with God, but we have a better one. We don’t have to rely on rules, we have the privilege of relationship.
The restoration that Jesus secured for us is the best gift that we could ever receive. He has done more than we could ever hope or ask for. When we were out of luck, separated from God, with zero hope, he took the first step and did the work so we could have a relationship with him. I’m so grateful that we live in grace and not under the law. We don’t have to worry about God revoking his love or his pleasure because it’s based on our position as his children, not our performance.
I naturally struggle with grace because I’m great in a meritocracy. I’m good at knowing the rules and working them to my own benefit. But today I am choosing gratitude over my own desire to earn and win. Our God is so good, kind, and loving—let’s go out of our way to express our gratitude for who he is today.
Do you sometimes take God for granted?
How can you show him your appreciation today?