Amnesia Towards the Almighty (Romans 1:21)
Romans 1:21, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
One day, William Stidger and his pastor sat in a restaurant talking about the suffering, affliction, and despair of the days. The pastor said, "In two or three weeks I have to preach on Thanksgiving Day. What can I say?" Stidger said it was like the Spirit of God answered that question: "Why not thank those people who've been a blessing in your life and affirm them during this terrible time?" He thought of an English teacher who had instilled in him a love of literature and verse, affecting all his writing and preaching. So he wrote to her. In a matter of days he got a reply. "My Dear Willy: I can't tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and like the last leaf of autumn lingering behind. You'll be interested to know that I taught in school for more than 50 years, and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has done in many years."
A spirit of ingratitude is the first step toward apostasy. Isaiah 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men”. The attitude of God's people toward the Lord affected their relationships with others. When a person gets hard and bitter toward God, they start to debate with the Lord, and there is a tendency to get hard and bitter toward others. Sin hardens our heart and cools us off in our love for Him and for other people. Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” When sin gets a grip on our life, we tend to get selfish and ungrateful. We start fussing and debating with God over His control over our lives.
When we are genuinely grateful, we will have an attitude of indebtedness and be motivated to sufficiently express that attitude. A grateful spirit recognizes that in ourselves we have nothing, we are nothing without the Lord, and whatever we have or do we owe to God, our parents, family, teachers, coaches, others, etc. Jesus put it this way in John 15:5, “without me you can do nothing.” If you ever get to a point in your life where you have nothing left but the Lord, then for the first time you will become aware that the Lord is enough! He is the ultimate Satisfier, and without Him we really have nothing!
God wants us to be thankful or grateful. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks living is better. To be grateful always is to recognize the fact that God controls our lives in every detail as He seeks to make us more like Jesus Christ. To be ungrateful is to disregard God's control, the lordship of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit's filling. It is the attitude that says, "God, I don't care what you have done for me. Just leave me alone." Ungratefulness is the first step to rejecting the Lord (Romans 1:21) and backsliding. When we are ungrateful, we end up doing several negative and destructive things.
If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. In old Anglo-Saxon, to be "thankful" meant to be "thinkful." Thinking of one's blessings should stir one to gratitude. We need to think about what God has done for all of us. We are to be consistent in gratefulness. Psalm 92:1-2, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.”
The truth is, God pours His blessings out upon us in the plural, not the singular. His blessings are many. There are so many that we need to count them. Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” Have you taken time to count your blessings of health, shelter, food, electricity, water, air, strength, seeing, hearing, walking, smelling, touching, talking, your Bible, friends, family, a good church, your pastor? We have so much to be thankful for. The way of the godly enjoys many blessings. Here are a few.
PRAYER: Father, Your Word says to always give thanks, and to give thanks for everything. Without Your help, that is impossible. Forgive me for all the times that I worry about my situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.