On Sunday Pastor Christy Johnson continued our Feed The Monster series by talking about the Ungrateful Monster. We feed this monster because of the habits that we have created in our lives. More often than not, we are living in answered prayers and don’t even realize it. We can be so blinded by how we want God to move in our lives that we don’t see how He is moving in our lives. When we blind ourselves from seeing God’s provision we can begin to think that our blessings have come through our own strength, when in reality, every blessing comes from Him.
In Deuteronomy 8:7-18, Moses reminded the Israelites of the importance of remembering where your blessings come from:
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
Moses brought this up because the Israelites had a habit of complaining. God was fulfilling every need they had, but because it wasn’t in the way that they wanted it, they complained. Their preferences blinded them from seeing God’s provision. Our habits determine the perspective that we have about life. Joy, just like negativity, is produced by the habits that we build our life upon. If you have a habit of complaining, you will feel hopeless in your circumstance, but if you have a habit of gratefulness, your life will be filled with hope.
Gratefulness is not instinctive. It’s something you have to learn and grow in. You didn’t grow up knowing when you were supposed to say, “Thank you.” You were taught it. Brenè Brown explains it perfectly, “Gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works. It’s not alive.” Gratefulness is not just a posture of the heart. It’s an action that you take. Just as Moses told the Israelites to thank God for the land He had given them, we need to thank God for everything He’s given us. We need to thank Him for the clothes on our back, the money we have in our pockets, and the food He puts on our table, regardless if we have the clothes we want, the amount of money we think we should have, or food from a 5-star restaurant. We must develop habits of gratefulness, or just like the Israelites, we will blind ourselves from His provision.
We must remember where we’ve come from and who got us to where we are today. If we don’t, we can become arrogant and cocky when it comes to the blessings of God. We can become entitled and begin to think that we deserve more than what we’ve got. The truth is, we don’t deserve anything, yet Jesus gave us everything. If we allow ourselves to see that, we will live a life of abundance instead of lack.
David understood this principle. In Psalm 23 he says, “ The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Even though there were times when David had to walk through the darkest valley, he remained grateful. He believed that no matter what circumstance life brought Him, God was leading him and providing for him. God does the same for you. Just as David described, God will prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies. The things that conspire against you to try to destroy your life are the very things that are going to feed you to go into where God has called you to go. His goodness and love are chasing you down. No matter what you are facing, believe that and declare the blessings that you are living in. It’s when you remember all that He has done that your cup overflows!