1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Easier said than done, you know? To have joy all the time. To pray without end. To be grateful in your highest highs and lowest lows.
Coming off of Thanksgiving weekend and headed right into advent season, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude. I always try to spend the month of November intentionally stirring up thankfulness in my heart — writing down the things I’m grateful for every day.
I wasn’t honestly that consistent with it this year, but here’s what I love about this practice: on the days I intentionally give thanks, I always find myself meeting with Jesus in ways I wouldn’t normally pay attention to in the mundane moments of my every day life.
There’s this thing that happens when we actually make room for Him (more on that later this week): we enter into His presence and it transforms us.
But it doesn’t just transform us. It shifts entire atmospheres, and it makes us see things through Heaven’s eyes instead of our own. I find myself noticing the hand of God at work in the tiniest corners of my heart that I didn’t even realize were there when I just stop and say thank you. I start to realize that what I’m actually doing when I train my mind towards gratitude is noticing the presence of a Savior who’s been there all along.
Last night at church, we served communion for the first time. (If you’re reading the blog for the first time, I’m on staff at a new church plant in Salt Lake City.) Our pastor talked about gratitude, and about shifting our focus from the gift to the Giver.
I stood there at the front, serving communion and holding a cup of grape juice masquerading as wine, and one by one I watched as people whose lives I’ve watched be transformed by Jesus these last few months came forward to say, “Thank you, Jesus. All I want is you.”
And one by one tears streamed down my face (a few of them landing in aforementioned glass of grape juice), as I thanked Him in my own heart, remembering all over again that when our hearts are fully yielded to Him, we can’t help but be grateful. We can’t help but be changed.
We can’t help but rejoice always. We can’t help but pray continually. Not because it’s what we should do. Because it’s all we know how to do.
Thank you Jesus.
“Jesus I Come”
Wake Up the Wonder