Monday, July 15, 2013

"Mutual Enjoyment"

     As I sat down to eat breakfast this morning, my mind was busy with thoughts about the coming day and week.  After several bites, I realized I had forgotten to give thanks for the food God provided.

    "Thou openest Thine hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing" (Psalm 145:16).
Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (I Timothy 4:4-5).

     I paused for a moment to give thanks, and the thought occurred, "Why am I doing this?"  Thankfully, my primary reason did not involve obligation or responsibility.  Gratitude expressed in a rote manner based upon mere duty lacks the very heart of the matter.  Certainly, giving thanks involves obedience - "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).  However, I suspect that neither God's heart or our own benefits greatly from expressions of thanksgiving offered merely because it's the right thing to do.  There has to be more to genuine gratitude, and thankfully, there is.

    "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8).

    We often reference Solomon's declaration that our prayers delight the heart of God.  This doubtless includes all varieties of prayer, but I suspect that offerings of thanksgiving must especially cause our Heavenly Father to rejoice.  This is the thought that occurred to me this morning when I realized I had not given thanks before eating.  I viewed it as a personal matter, namely, that Someone who loves me, and whom I love, provided a meal for me.  Moreover, just as the food would please me, so could I please the heart of its Provider by expressing heartfelt gratitude.  This I did, and just as my breakfast gave pleasure to me, so do I believe my thanksgiving for the breakfast gave pleasure to our Heavenly Father.

    Reality graces our experience of God as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the reality of relationship.  We do not merely abide by principles as we trust in the Lord Jesus.  We rather know Somebody, somebody nearer to us than anyone else, and someone who is with us always.  Mutual enjoyment of the relationship is possible and actual as we trust and submit ourselves to the reality of God's abiding presence both with and within us.  Indeed, I can be sure that I delighted the heart of God this morning, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit.  Because, again, the Word of God plainly declares that "the prayer of the upright is His delight."  A simple meal therefore became a remembrance of truths that meet us where and as we are because the Truth Himself meets us where and as we are.

"But Thou art holy, o Thou that inhabiteth the praises of Israel."
(Psalm 22:3)
"Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord."
(Colossians 3:23)

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