Thanksgiving is just days away, so it’s time to start reflecting on what we’re thankful for. After all, we need a few talking points when the question is asked of us at the dinner table.
Yes, I’m being intentionally sarcastic with that statement. We ought to be a people who are thankful 365 days a year, not just when the calendar reminds us to be. Like I wrote last week, dangerous things can happen when you forget the generosity of God.
But not only must we be a people who are thankful; we ought to be a people who are thankful for the right reasons. When you celebrate, why do you celebrate? When you receive blessing, how do you define blessing? Be honest – what do you want from God? Or maybe this is a more provocative way of saying it: what kind of Messiah do you want Jesus to be?
I think many of us are just not on Jesus’ page. What we dream of and hope for is not the same as what he has promised us and works by zealous grace to deliver to us. Perhaps many of us struggle with disappointment with God because, at street level in our daily lives, we don’t esteem what God values.
Could it be that many of us don’t treasure what God has harnessed the forces of nature and controlled the events of human history to deliver to us? Maybe many of us actually want nothing more than a Jesus Genie who will make our lives easier by obeying our every command, for which we would give him thanks and name him as faithful.
Perhaps many of us want control more than we want redemption. We wish we had more control over the people and circumstances of our lives. That would be the good life for us.
Perhaps many of us crave success more than we crave redemption. We are willing to do almost anything to be successful; meanwhile, we neglect the things that God says have eternal value.
Perhaps many of us esteem acceptance more than we esteem redemption. We find more joy in the acceptance of the people around us than we do in the abounding love of God.
Perhaps many of us desire comfort and pleasure more than we desire redemption. If our lives could just be easier and more predictable, we would be satisfied.
Perhaps many of us want material things more than we want redemption. We tend to judge the quality of our lives by the size of our piles of stuff we have acquired.
Now, none of these things is inherently evil; it's not wrong to desire any of them. The game-changing question is this: "what set of desires rule my heart?" This is important because the desires that rule your heart determine how you evaluate your life, how you make small and large decisions, and, most importantly, how you think about the goodness and faithfulness of God.
This Thanksgiving season, go ahead and be thankful for the success and comfort and material things that God has blessed you with. But more than that, celebrate what God is working to produce in you – a redeemed heart. Your Lord is much, much more than a Jesus Genie; he is your sovereign Savior King.
Paul David Tripp
How has God blessed you with control? In what ways do you value control more than redemption, and how might God be redeeming you through the lack/loss of control?
How has God blessed you with success? In what ways do you value success more than redemption, and how might God be redeeming you through the lack/loss of success?
How has God blessed you with acceptance? In what ways do you value acceptance more than redemption, and how might God be redeeming you through the lack/loss of acceptance?
How has God blessed you with comfort and pleasure? In what ways do you value comfort and pleasure more than redemption, and how might God be redeeming you through the lack/loss of comfort and pleasure?
- How has God blessed you with material things? In what ways do you value material things more than redemption, and how might God be redeeming you through the lack/loss of material things?