Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Gratitude and courage

“See that none render for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice ever more. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

1 Thessalonians 5:15-22
 

Apart from our carnal nature, there is also a spiritual nature. We know, as Christians, that we can't follow Jesus in a carnal style and manner and also that the carnal nature has no interest therein. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to control and discipline our bodies and our mindset. And when we ponder upon a spiritual “alertness” then thankfulness has a greater meaning – it is God's explicit will (verse 18) just as praying without ceasing is. What can we continually give thanks for? In the first instance for our salvation through the fulfilled Gospel of and in Jesus Christ. Also for the Holy Spirit, the Word of God in the Bible, our Church and our fellow-believers, our gifts and talents etc. And something which especially stands out here is the fact that this life has an unseen, blessed meaning and God is behind it. In Romans 8:24-31 we find the familiar Scripture which emphasizes this “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But, if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of the Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

What shall we then say to these things? This is more of a rhetorical question, which answers itself in the continued text. It is therefore maybe better to say less (theological) thereto, and rather be wholeheartedly grateful to God that it is so: God is for us! When we sometimes experience such moments for which we cannot really thank God, we should read this scripture! Whoever is grateful, is also courageous. The words in Hebrews 10:39 brings us to this point: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” It is the saving of the soul that we desire and for which we reach out in faith. The Holy Spirit compels us to this (Romans 8:14). Courage through faith, gratitude and also perseverance are all signs of the new birth and contains a living faith. However, more often than not, when we internalise these characteristics, we seem to others rather unapproachable, pretentious, boisterous and strange. True gratitude, that turns us into courageous and encouraging people, makes us peaceful and humble. He who possesses a self-awareness of the blessings of God in these things, and in his personal and everyday life, acknowledges that it is exclusively attained through the grace and mercy of God. We don't deserve anything. Humility also has something to do with courage. Namely, to recognise in and above all our blessings, the goodness of God Who intends exceedingly abundantly above more for us even than we could ever comprehend. Pride goes in the exact opposite direction. In Proverbs 11:2-3 we read: “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: But with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: But the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” All the glory belongs to God!

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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This devotion is also available in Afrikaans: Dankbaarheid en moed
Zur deutschen Originalversion: Dankbarkeit und Mut


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