when “Count your blessings” doesn’t go far enough

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have noticed something about myself that needs attention. This is not unusual for a writer, as self examination is a natural part of the process, but this particular observation is – currently – uniquely challenging.

I have been thinking about gratitude, and the idea of a thankful heart. In particular my thoughts have turned to aphorisms such as “Count your blessings, name them one by one…” I often reference this practice – the idea that we pay attention to what is good and that we should always “count our blessings”, and respond to God accordingly.

That’s fine. But what needs attention in me is how limited that concept is! Where I am being challenged goes further. “Give thanks,” Paul writes in the oldest extant New Testament writing we have, “In all circumstances. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

In other words, now that we know Jesus, God’s expectation is that we practice gratitude at all times.

Not just being thankful for the good stuff. Not looking hard for evidences of grace and then responding to that. Not simply being more aware of our blessings.

– NC writer Derek Maul is being challenged in terms of “depth

What I’m talking about is a disciplined, intentional, deliberate gratitude that permeates who we are and begins to define us as people of faith, people who rest confidently in the hope that is ours in Jesus.

This needs more of my attention. It also needs my intention.

Where do you find yourself in this regard? Is your soul at peace? – DEREK

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