A decade ago, the Lord taught me about gratitude's link to obedience. Have I written it about it here before? I need to check the archives. I think of this often at Thanksgiving. I think of it throughout the year when I am overwhelmed by something amazing and HUGE that God has done for me. There is a connection between gratitude and obedience. I see that now. I treasure this nugget of revelation. I am so glad to have a quick Thanksgiving test that I can take.
Am I thankful?
A simple question that really means do I "feel" thankful? Do I feel content or happy with where life is these days? Are the big things in place? Healthy kids and happy husband? Check. Check. (Can you picture my cute, pasted on smile?)
But the better question is: Do I "act" thankful? Obedience is the tried and true best way to show my gratitude for everything God does to protect, lead, and love me. If He asks something of me, will I do it even when it's a stretch for me?
John records the conversation with Jesus and His disciples, when Jesus challenges them by saying, "If you love me, obey me." That verse is so powerful. John 14 was a life changing chapter for me. As a child, I read the New Testament, skimming past the passages that I did not understand. This was one of those confusing, earn your salvation, kind of messages. But when I read it in 2000, I knew that He was speaking to me. You are ready to do this. You are ready to love me back. You've wanted to love me, but you didn't know how until now.
For so long, I wanted the Lord to know how much I love Him. Now I need to show Him as much as I tell Him. Too quickly, I can begin to build a separate life from the one He is leading. Without obedience, I am not really grateful. Instead, I am doing my own thing, apart from Him. I am no longer His child; I just attend His church.
Thanksgiving brings me back to this fork in the road from the year 2000. I chose the road with the flashing neon arrow that the Holy Spirit paved and marked clearly for me. I chose life.
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. No, the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it. I set before you today, life and prosperity, death and destruction. Now, choose life so that your children may live.