When you wake up in the morning, do you expect for everything to be in its proper setting, continuing on with your day like the day before, or do you wake up automatically thankful and grateful for another day of having good health, food, water, clothing, shelter, electricity, air conditioning, etc.? Really think about it. Let that question sink in, and be honest with yourself.
If your answer was no, you don’t automatically wake up thanking God for another day of having all of the undeserved necessities that you have had in your previous days, weeks, or months, then you are in the same boat that I am in. I am just as guilty as you are when it comes to taking for granted the things that I have been granted ultimately from God. Is it something to be proud of? No, but it is something that can improve!
There are some people who are ungrateful because their lives are broken into shattered pieces, but there are others who just do not practice the habit of being thankful. Whatever category you fall in, hear me out.
The other day, I woke up, ate my breakfast, went about my normal daily routine, and spent some time with the Lord in prayer and Scripture reading. Sounds simple, huh? I love it when I open up my heart to God because that’s when the real, deep stuff comes into play. On this particular day, I sat down, and I began to pray. Then, something hit the core of my heart. I started thinking about the fact that when I wake up and get out of bed each day, I don’t sit there and praise God for giving me another chance at life and everything that comes with it. Instead, I get up as if it were just some ordinary day with food on the table, clothes in my closet, and filtered water to get out of the refrigerator. There’s more to my day than just that, but those are the basic things that are included in my daily life. I sit down after preparing my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, praying the same, mediocre prayer to God, thanking Him for my food and all that He has provided, and continue going through the motions of my routine.
This deep thought doesn’t end there. It goes deeper…
After thinking about all of the “stuff” that I have, I began to think about what people in my own community, city, county, state, nation, and world don’t have. There are so many people who would do anything to have filtered water or a large plate of food to devour. Instead, they are on the streets, in the desert, the woods, under overpasses by the interstates, etc. longing for a cool breeze to sweep over them after days, weeks, months, and even years of exhaustion and suffering from the scorching heat. They are begging for money to get them just the smallest things like a little cheeseburger off of the dollar menu at McDonald’s or Wendy’s. A majority are on the other side of the world, and they have no access to hearing the gospel. Even many here in the states have never heard of Jesus Christ before, as well as the love, truth, joy, and so much more that come from having a relationship with Him.
Yet, after all of the thinking that went into realizing all of that, I still struggle with taking things for granted because it is a habit that I have had since the day I was born. So, how do I intend on fixing this issue, and in what ways could this help you?
1. Realize that every big and little thing that we have is from God. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” The next breath we take, the next sip of water we drink, each individual hair on our head, etc. is a gift from God and no other. He is our Creator, and He gives and takes away at any moment (Job 1:20-21 says, “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”)
2. Set aside specific times to spend with the Lord in prayer daily. If you have trouble with consistency in your prayer life, pick a few times a day to pray and read His Word. Maybe you will have to wake up earlier, or you may have to stay up later. Do what ever you can to spend time with the Lord. We won’t grow in our relationship with Him unless we spend that precious time with Him daily; it’s a part of taking up our cross DAILY and following Him like His Word says in Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
3. Before you start asking God for things, thank Him for all of the things He has already given you. Something that I have been doing for a while now is starting my prayers off with thanking God for specific things, as well as general things that go down a long list. I thank God not only for what He has done for me, but also for who He is. He is good, He is wonderful, He is mighty, He is strong, He is faithful, and so much more. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Thank God for the good things, and thank Him for the bad things that have happened or are happening in your life currently. He is with you through the hills (good times) and the valleys (bad times).
4. Pray for those who don’t have the things you have, and serve those people. This doesn’t necessarily have to do with giving thanks, but it has everything to do with praying for those who don’t have what you are thanking God for. Whether that be clothes, food, water, etc., you can simply pray for those people, as well as reach out into your community or even go across the world to serve those who are in need. People need physical things, but they also need Jesus. He is the key that unlocks the rest of an eternal life with Him where there will be no sickness, hunger, miserableness, etc.
Thank God for what He has granted you that you have taken for granted.