Are You an Unappreciative Christian?
How Does Scripture Define Appreciation
The Bible defines appreciation as demonstrating reverence in recognition that God is responsible for our well-being. Appreciation is an important aspect of our relationship with God. In Colossians 3:15, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for as members of one body you are called to peace. And always be thankful." This passage emphasizes the importance of being thankful for the peace that Christ brings to our hearts, and for the unity we have as members of the body of Christ.
In addition to being thankful for God's peace and unity, the Bible also teaches that we should appreciate God for His blessings and provision. In Psalm 136, the Psalmist repeats the phrase "His love endures forever" 26 times in reference to the different ways God has blessed His people throughout history. This passage reminds us to be grateful for the many ways God has provided for us, and to always remember His love endures forever.
Ultimately, the scripture teaches that appreciation is an essential aspect of our relationship with God. Gratefulness helps recognize and acknowledge His goodness and grace. When we take the time to appreciate God, we are reminded to trust Him more fully. Appreciating Him God develops a deeper sense of gratitude and a more positive outlook on life. When we get to this place through the Holy Spirit, it brings peace and joy to our hearts.
Examples of Appreciation in Scripture
An example of showing appreciation in scripture is glorifying God with our lives. We say many things but as someone much wiser than I once said: “you can say anything but I only care what you show me.” There are numerous examples of appreciation in scripture. Additionally, an appreciative Christian lifestyle helps us to acknowledge God's goodness.
Although you may not think about this often, if at all, there is a deep sense of “peace” with respect to showing our gratefulness to the Lord. This does not how it increases our faith journey. Lastly, showing appreciation is an important way for Believers to share God’s love with others.
Here are seven (7) biblical examples of appreciation:
In the book of Exodus, Moses and the Israelites sing a song of appreciation to God after He miraculously parts the Red Sea and saves them from Pharaoh's army. Exodus chapter 15 is among the most beautiful yet untaught worship experiences in the entire biblical narrative.
In the book of Psalms, David frequently writes about his appreciation for God's protection, guidance, and provision throughout his life.
The prophet Isaiah expresses appreciation for God's power and glory.
Who can forget the ten lepers in Luke?
In the book of Acts, Paul and Barnabas tell the people of Lystra how God had done great things among them, and they expressed their appreciation to God
James encourages Christians to be joyful in trials and hardships, because they know that God can bring good out of those same trials
The angels, and twenty-four (24) elders in Revelations, sing a song of appreciation to God for His sovereignty and glory.
However, biblical appreciation, may be different than appreciation for non-Christians in a few ways. For one, biblical appreciation is rooted in the belief that God is the creator and sustainer of all things. Therefore, all credit (praise) is due to Him, and none other. For Christians, appreciation is not just a feeling or attitude, but it is an expression of love for God. The Bible teaches that “glory is due to God and God alone.”
Unlike the world around us, the idea of accepting credit for God’s glorious work is abhorrent. Furthermore, for Christians, appreciation is not limited to temporal things. We “believe beyond linear time” into the eternal. Non-Christian appreciation has its end in physical death. Further, non-Christians appreciate things and circumstances, but it's not necessarily rooted in a belief in a higher power. Additionally, biblical appreciation includes the idea of thanking God in all circumstances, good or bad.
What if I Am Not Thankful to God
It is evil to forget to thank God because it is a sign of ingratitude and a lack of understanding. I cannot speak for you, the reader, but the Lord knows I am guilty in this department as well! I believe in personal accountability and this website is dedicated to this principle. I confront and correct wayward leaders (often) so let me not forget self-correction.
God is the creator and sustainer of all things. He has blessed us with countless gifts, including salvation through Jesus Christ. When we forget to thank Him, we are essentially taking those blessings for granted and failing to recognize His provision. In all things, we should praise the Lord our God! An old preacher put it best: “thank the Lord for your shoes. Even if you do not have shoes, thank Him for your feet.”
Additionally, neglecting praise leads to a sense of entitlement which robs us of humility. Furthermore, where ALL praises are due dulls our sense of awe and wonder towards the Almighty. Part of ungratefulness is refusing to repent when God convicts our heart of sin.
Here are seven (7) biblical examples of ungratefulness:
The Israelites in the wilderness who grumbled and complained about their food and living conditions despite God providing for them through manna.
The Prodigal Son, who took his inheritance and squandered it on a life of excess, only realize the error of his ways, and return home humbled.
The Rich Fool who was so focused on accumulating wealth that he forgot to be thankful for what he already had.
The Prophet Jonah was unappreciative that God chose him to preach to the city of Nineveh. In transparency, when the Lord “contacted me” to do the same (preach), I suffered from this same “syndrome” (though for different reasons). God forgive my ignorance!
The unbelieving Israelites who, despite God's provision, still complained about not having enough water in the desert.
The Pharisees, who were so focused on their own righteousness that they failed to recognize and thank God for His grace.
The people who saw Jesus perform miracles, but did not believe in Him, and thus did not thank God for his grace. They accused Jesus of doing miracles by the power of a demon. Wow!
If we are honest before the Lord God, each of us has been unthankful at one time or another. However, we must not remain in such a place for too long. The consequences are much too dangerous.
Biblical Consequences for Un-gratefulness
Ungratefulness in scripture is often met with consequences, as it is a sign of disobedience to God. One consequence of ungratefulness is that it can lead to a lack of blessings and provision from God. When we fail to appreciate God’s grace, we may find ourselves in a position where we are no longer receiving those blessings. Additionally, ungratefulness can lead to a lack of joy and peace in our lives.
We have all been in a place where we are constantly focused on what we don't have rather than what we do. Furthermore, ungratefulness can also lead to spiritual stagnation and even separation from God. At these times, we are essentially saying that we don't need Him and that we can provide for ourselves. This leads to a lack of dependence on God and damaged faith. Worse, it leads to a hardening of the heart, which dulls our sense of spiritual hearing.
Here are six (6) examples of the biblical consequences of ungratefulness:
Isaiah 42:20 states that the people have become "unresponsive" and "ungrateful" to God, which is why He will send them into exile.
Romans 1:21 states that when people do not give thanks to God, they become "futile in their thinking" and their "foolish hearts are darkened."
Hebrews 3:12-13 warns that those who do not remain grateful for God's blessings will become "unbelieving" and "hardened" by the deceitfulness of sin.
Psalm 107:17 states that those who are ungrateful for God's provision will be "afflicted and in pain".
Proverbs 14:30 states that "a heart at peace gives life to the body" and "an ungrateful person will be filled with complaints."
Psalm 78:34-37 states that the Israelites were not thankful for God's provision and as a result, He gave them over to their enemies.
Luke 17:17-18 states that Jesus thanks the Father for the healing of the ten lepers, and only one came back to give thanks. The others were ungrateful and did not return to thank Jesus.
Please, by the mercies of God, do not be found ungrateful on that great day when we stand before God! Even in our struggles, we have many things to praise God for. Never forget that when you are going through your storms.
What Did Jesus Say About Thankfulness
Jesus had much to say about whether we should be thankful to God, the Father, or not. Some of these came through His telling of parables while others were open rebuke to un-appreciative religious leaders.
Read these seven (7) instances of Jesus’ views on the subject:
1. The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus spoke of the importance of forgiveness and appreciation for those who repent and return to a loving family. 2. Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). This illustrates the value of showing compassion and appreciation for those in need, regardless of their background or status. 3. Who can forget the woman with the alabaster box? She washed Jesus' feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair (Luke 7:36-50). This teaches the power of humility and appreciation for the forgiveness and grace offered by Him (Jesus). 4. Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this, we learn the importance of using our gifts and abilities to serve others. 5. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches His followers to appreciate the beauty of the lilies of the field, and not to worry about the things of this world (Matthew 6:25-34). 6. Jesus' teaching on loving one's enemies (Matthew 5:44) encourages people to appreciate even those who may be hostile towards them. 7. Jesus' healing of the lepers (Matthew 8:1-4, Luke 17:11-19). This example teaches the importance of showing appreciation for the physical and spiritual healing that Jesus offers.
One way to model Jesus' teaching on gratitude is to follow his example of humility and service. Jesus consistently demonstrated a servant's heart, always putting the needs of others before His own. Who can forget the King of Kings washing His disciples’ feet? He also taught the importance of forgiveness and compassion, reminding his followers to be grateful for the blessings they have been given. By following Jesus' example of selflessness, we learn to appreciate and to bless others as well.
Psalms of Gratefulness by King David
David, the author of many of the Psalms, is known for expressing deep gratitude and thankfulness to God throughout his writings. If there exists a book in the current biblical canon which expresses more gratefulness to God, I have yet to read it! In the Psalms, David acknowledges God's goodness and faithfulness. He uses words like "blessed," "praise," and "thankful" to express gratitude towards God. David's gratefulness is not only limited to his personal experiences, but also extends to the nation of Israel.
David's appreciation is not only reflected in his words, but also in action. He often calls on the people of Israel to join him in praising and thanking God for His blessings. Sure, we know David had some “sin” issues but David’s ultimate act of praise was his “sprint towards repentance” when he sinned. If there is a greater act of praising the Lord God than repenting of evil, I have yet to come across it. You believe love is greater than repentance, right? Answer this: How do you love God without submitting to Him through your repentance?
My favorite Psalm is 51. Psalm 51 is a penitential psalm, a prayer for forgiveness and cleansing written by King David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed. The psalm begins with David acknowledging his sins and asking for God's mercy and forgiveness. He confesses his guilt and acknowledges that his sins have separated him from God. He then expresses his desire for God to cleanse him of his sins and to renew a right spirit within him. Yes beloved – appreciation to our Lord can come through deep sorrow having offended His Holiness.
David also expresses his willingness to be obedient to God's commands and to live a life that is pleasing to God. He acknowledges that God is the one who can restore his joy and salvation and that he is dependent on God's grace. He also expresses his desire to teach others about God's righteousness and to proclaim God's praises. He concludes the psalm by asking God to not to be angry with him for ever and to remember not his sins but his trust in the Lord.
The psalm is considered one of the seven Penitential Psalms and it is often used in Christian sermon as a prayer for forgiveness. It is also considered a powerful Psalm of repentance and it is widely used as a way to express remorse and seek God's forgiveness.
In summary, expressing gratefulness and appreciation to God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, is essential to our peace of spirit. Never forget to, in all things, let the Lord know how worthy He is of your praise.
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