Every day of your life you’ll find reasons to complain, and every day of your life you’ll have reasons to be thankful. Notice the distinction: you’ll FIND reasons to complain and you’ll HAVE reasons to be thankful.
These two themes, complaint and thankfulness, tug at the heart of each of us. They form fundamentally different ways of viewing the world because they’re rooted in fundamentally different ways of viewing yourself.
If you arrogantly assume that you’re a good and deserving person, you’ll place yourself in the center of your world and live with an entitled, “I deserve ______” attitude. Because you live with that attitude, you’ll develop an inflated and unrealistic sense of personal need.
Because you have an inflated and unrealistic sense of personal need, you’ll now expect the situations, locations, and relationships of everyday life to focus their energy on serving what you have named as personal needs. But in case you missed it, this universe wasn’t created to serve you; you’re not the center of its attention.
When those people and places fail to serve you, or even recognize what you have named as personal needs, you now have found constant reasons to complain and grumble. What a dark and discouraging way to live!
Thankfully, there’s another way of viewing yourself. If you humbly admit that as a sinner, you deserve nothing but God’s wrath, you’ll have reasons to be grateful everywhere you look.
If you remember that in acts of outrageous grace, God has turned his face of mercy and kindness toward you, and that every good thing in your life is an undeserved blessing, feelings of humility and thankfulness rather than entitlement and disappointment will fill your heart.
I guess what I’m trying to ask is this: how are you viewing yourself? Do you think you’re a good and deserving person who has been unjustly forgotten? Or do you, like John Newton, view yourself as a wretch, saved by amazing grace?
Here's what I want you to do, the day before Thanksgiving. I have written 10 questions for your personal assessment at the bottom of this e-mail. Don’t rush through these questions and “tick the box” for your daily devotions; be meticulous and intentional.
Honestly admit that you may be more arrogant, demanding, and entitled than you think. Confess where you need to confess, both to God and to others. Finally, don't be afraid of what may be revealed. God has already forgiven you on the Cross, and on top of that, he provides abundant and life-transforming grace for you, right here, right now.
Paul David Tripp
- Do you find it easier to complain than to give thanks?
- Are you easily irritated and quickly impatient?
- Do mundane hassles get under your skin?
- Would the people who live nearest to you characterize you as a thankful person or a complaining person?
- Do you look at your world and find many reasons to complain because things aren’t going your way?
- Do you look at your world and find yourself blown away at the many reasons you have every day to give thanks?
- Do you view yourself as one who has been constantly short-changed and neglected?
- Do you view yourself as one who has been showered with blessings?
- How often do you grumble “If only I had _____” or “I wish that _____ was different”?
- How often do you whisper thanks to God or communicate thanks to those around you?