By: Gretchen Speer
The word “intentional” has been floating around in my head for quite a while now, challenging me to live on purpose in many areas. I have felt the need to be more intentional in showing grace, memorizing scripture, assuming the best of people, and of course, gratitude.
Being intentional with showing gratitude during November is not a stretch. All one has to do is hop on Facebook and you will likely be spurred to spout your own list of things that have blessed you. The thing is that I didn’t want this to be a “November thing”. I didn’t want to have to be reminded and then apply myself only in that moment and move on. I wanted it to be the overflow from my heart- the things that spill out of my mouth when I’m unguarded. For this to happen it had to be a heart change and not a mind application.
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:2
It’s a good thing my Jesus specializes transformation, because that is exactly what I experienced.
I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! Psalm 119:25
How did this transformation in me happen? I asked God to do it! I asked Him to open my eyes, and He did! Sometimes everything you need is right in front of you, but it just doesn’t penetrate your heart. That’s where I was. I knew I should be grateful, but I wasn’t, not really. At the risk of oversimplifying, I have to say that the answer to a cold ungrateful heart is to get in the word and ask God to wake you up. Ask Him to soften your heart.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
“When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt, but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become gift? For He might not have……I’ve been a thief trying to hoard away all the good.” Ann Voscamp, One Thousand Gifts
Through prayer and reading His Word we are brought to a deeper understanding of who God is, and what he’s done for us. The true understanding that the Holy Spirit brings during this time lends itself to an overflow of gratitude and it is during this time that a true heart transformation takes place. Moving forward the overflow of our hearts is gratitude. (For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34)
Grateful- warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful
We can choose to be grateful , which in itself is not a bad thing-it’s a good thing. Someone much smarter than me once said “The enemy of great is good.” Experience the transforming power of Christ working in us leads us to live a life that overflows with gratitude because of all that He has done, is doing and will do. Just a taste of this great life awakens us to see that the good life just isn’t good enough.
Tis the season to be grateful, may it be only the beginning of Christ’s transforming work in our hearts.