Friday, October 04, 2002
A Thankful Heart
I believe it is very important for us to have a truly thankful heart. So often pride rears its ugly head and we need to pause and reflect on what it really means to be a Pharisee. I believe that Luke 18:10-12 sets a pattern for the kind of thankful heart that we should have.
Let me express first of all my thankfulness that we are not like other men. The world today is populated by thieves, extortionists, ungodly, unholy, evil, adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, smokers, lawyers and sinners of every kind. It is so comforting to know that we are not a part of such a crowd. Certainly we should express our thanks to God for our association with Him rather than the scum of the world.
God has called some of us out of the ranks of sin as the Bible says, “such were some of you.” But most of us, who have been raised in Pharisee churches all our lives, need to thank God that we have been kept by his grace from ever falling into any of those sins. We should express our undying gratitude that we have never been subject to the temptations of lesser men, and that God has prevented us from ever descending into impurity and unholiness. We should be appreciative of the special protection that God has placed over us because of the great love wherewith he hath loved us and thus making us even more worthy of His love by doing so.
Not only that but we should be thankful for our level of religious service. Spiritual discipline is a mark of the spiritual Christian and we should express our gratitude to God for the privilege that we have of being numbered with the saints. We are the kind of people who tithe of everything that we own. We never miss a service. We read only the correct version of the Bible. We properly condemn sinners whether they are professing Christians or the unsaved. We maintain doctrinal purity and are members of a True church.
But we can take no unwarranted pride in this for that of course would be a sin. Instead we give all the credit for our personal holiness and worthiness back to God. We should be thankful that we are able to stand holy and unblamable before Him because of all the goodness that He has shed abroad in our lives. We need to keep in mind that all the good things we do – and there are a great many of them – come from God. Had he not written them down in His Word, we would never be able to know all the good that we could do for Him. And because He has given us clear instructions, we can follow them Religiously. For that, I am truly thankful.
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Luke 13:13-14 (NIV)
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