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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of September 11, 2006

Do you live with an attitude of gratitude?

Many people, even many Christians, find it very difficult to be thankful. Yet, the Bible repeatedly tells us to be thankful in everything. We should live overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:7).

Rather than finding something to complain about, we should find something to be thankful for. There is always something in life for which to thank God; indeed, we should always [be] giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20).

Furthermore, Psalm 100:4 tells us: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Notice that just entering his gates demands that we be thankful.

Being thankful is important to God. Therefore, decide to live with an attitude of gratitude.

God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.

God is love (1 John 4:8). God doesn't have to pretend to love you; He can't not love you, because He is love.

In fact, the very actions of God exemplify what love is. The apostle John explains that this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Only a few verses later, he further defines love: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:9).

Notice that God's love for you is independent of how you behave, who you are, or how you respond to that love.

Romans 5:6-8 reminds us that God loves us regardless of where we are: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus represents God's love for us in what we now call the Parable of the Prodigal Son (see Luke 15:11-24). In that allegory, the father openly and lovingly receives his son even though the son had run away, squandered all of his money, and insulted the father. In the same way, God loves us unconditionally.

There is nothing you can do to get God to love you -- He already does. There is nothing you can do to deserve God's love, because, by sinning, you have turned your back on God and are fundamentally no different than the prodigal son. That parable is a clear reminder that God loves you not because of what you do, but because of who He is.