July 9: “Cultivating Gratitude for the Gospel”

6 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Chronicles 7:1–8:40
Acts 27:1-20
Psalm 7:1-17
Proverbs 18:22 

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Psalm 7:12-13 (NLT): “If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows.”

Reflections from Scripture:

If we are honest with ourselves, our hearts sometimes grow apathetic to the Gospel. The fact that Jesus left His throne in Heaven to come to earth doesn’t warm our hearts. The cross loses its ability to evoke heartfelt gratitude within us.

The reason we periodically grow indifferent to Jesus and the Gospel could very well be that we fail to understand the seriousness of our sin and God’s wrath.

Imagine that you are resting in a hospital bed, and a nurse approaches you with a needle. She is about to poke it into your arm and empty its contents into your body. You protest. You question why you need it. She responds by telling you that you were bitten by a cottonmouth snake an hour earlier, you are delirious, and she desperately needs to get the antivenom into your body to save your life. Then, suddenly, you see the needle and its contents very differently. Now, you are grateful for the shot she is about to give you.

The fact that our hearts grow cold to the Gospel, the cross, and all that Jesus did to save us might be because we don’t realize the gravity of our sin problem. We aren’t appreciative of the “antivenom” because we don’t feel the weight of our guilt and God’s angry response.

Psalm 7:12-13 (NLT): “If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows.”

So, my friend, if you want to cultivate a heart of gratitude for what God has done to forgive you, then feel the weight of your sin and its consequences. See sin for what it is. Realize that it evokes God’s anger. Then, turn from it (repent) and express your thankfulness to a God that loves you so much that He would rather forgive you than punish you.

2 Peter 3:9 (NLT): “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, You have already done so much for me. Because You love me, You left Your throne in Heaven to come to earth and pay my sin debt on the cross so that I can enjoy a relationship with You. Help me feel the weight of my sin so that I can feel the depth of gratitude for Your gift of forgiveness and cleansing. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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