by Ashley Rush, Residence Hall Supervisor
I’ve seen several posts recently encouraging me to list things I’m thankful for. This is a great exercise to do especially when we are facing personal trials and the bleak situation in the world today. Scripture tells us that gratitude is an evidence of walking in the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20) and is essential in the equation for perfect peace (Philippians 4:6-7). However, I’ve been meditating on something that should precede lists of things we’re thankful for. First, we must be grateful for what we don’t have—something we actually deserve. My meditation has been centered on Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Since I am in Christ (not through any merit of my own but through the blood of Christ), I don’t have the rightly deserved death sentence looming over me. We think we deserve happiness, comfort, and respect when in fact the Bible informs us of the only thing any of us deserve: the wrath of God. Consider just a sampling of the many verses that speak of the wrath of God for our sin:
Milton Vincent, in his book A Gospel Primer, draws our attention to the half-empty/half-full cup illustration. Whether you’re a pessimist or optimist, consider these thoughts about what your cup is lacking under the heading of “Thankfulness Enriched by Relief:”
Gratitude is naturally coupled with humility. While we don’t have to face condemnation for our sin, Paul reminds us in Romans 6 that we don’t have license to continue in sin. We should freely enjoy the provisions of the Gospel today while dreading to grieve our loving Heavenly Father who has sacrificed His Son so that we can experience justification.
Let's be enthusiastically grateful today for what our cup is lacking.