Remember when I mentioned the list of symptoms demonstrated when the heart is full of pride? My goal is to target a different symptom each week and discuss how placing God in the center of our lives and gaining proper perspective transforms those negative symptoms of pride. This first symptom to discuss is...
Lack of gratitude:
Stuart Scott wrote, "Proud people usually think they deserve what is good. The result is, they see no reason to be thankful for what they receive. As a matter of fact, they may even complain because they think they deserve better. They tend to be critical, complaining and discontent. The proud person is not in the practice of being thankful toward God or others."
they think they deserve better...
Let that sink in. When we are at the center of our worlds, we feel that we deserve better and so nothing can meet our needs. thoughts sneak in like...
My husband is never good enough. My children could always behave better. My home could stand for an improvement. My wardrobe needs some new pieces... It's so hot outside. I can't believe that car just cut in front of me. They got my fast food order wrong again? (this is my personal list. sound like yours?).
HOWEVER, if God is at the center...you become aware of your sinfulness...and you become overwhelmed with God's undeserved grace and goodness. Humble people thank God and others OFTEN. They expect nothing, so anything that is received is greatly appreciated.
an exercise in gratitude
If you have interacted with me at all in the last 3 months you would have heard me sing the praises of the book, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Her book was transformational for me to stop and become aware of God's daily gifts of grace in my life. She draws the connection between grace (greek:charis), thanksgiving (greek:eucharisteo), and joy (greek:chara). Did you catch the similarity between the greek words? (pst: char-) Her premise is that we can finally grasp true joy if we engage in thanksgiving for God's grace in our lives.
She also introduces the exercise that is the title of the book, a list of one thousand gifts. Her writing is artistic. She paints word pictures. Her list includes items like: leafy life scent of the florist shop, the creak of her old knees, jam piled high on toast, kisses in dark, moonlight on pillows...
I encourage you to:
- buy the book, which is a thorough discussion of gratitude and "to live fully right where you are."
- buy a journal to write your own list of one thousand gifts.
No I don't encourage you, I DARE YOU!! It will open your eyes to amazing and wonderful gifts in your day that you may otherwise have passed by previously.
Here is a portion of my list:
69. Folded laundry
70. Fresh start to the week.
71. Reminder that I will fail but God can use me!
72. Healthy boys.
73. Good friends to talk with during the day.
74. Middle son bringing his plate and his brothers to the sink without being asked.
75. A day without regret.
76. Chubby fingers shoving fries in his mouth.
Want to learn more on pride and lack of gratitude?
A biblical example of this symptom of pride is in 2 Chronicles 32:25 which says, "But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem."
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary perfectly explains this struggle of pride and ingratitude with humility and thankfulness: "It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble!"