“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
Who doesn’t love to receive gifts? Little treats that I would never buy for myself are extra special to me. A couple in my church deliver a Valentine treat bag every year to the single ladies and widows in my church family. It is filled with homemade candies, sweet rolls or other treats, and a card. Even though the gift is from them, it is also a gift from my Heavenly Father.
If we listed every good and perfect gift from our Father, the list would be endless. In his book Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards wrote about natural gratitude – when thoughtful people feel gratitude for life, health, a beautiful day, and more. However, his conclusion was that people who love God only for what He gives them are as “even a dog will love his master that is kind to him.”
This made me stop and think about my love for God. He gives me so much every day. Is that why I love Him? Is that the only reason I love Him? Do I love Him less when struggles or trials come my way instead of what I might consider a gift?
Edwards continues writing about supernatural gratitude, which is the mark of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is when our gratitude to God is not for what He gives to us, but for Who He is. It draws us into a closer relationship with God. It sustains us through the difficult times. It is what strengthens us when we do not feel God’s presence in our lives – when we feel He is not listening to our prayers or our cries for help. It is what gives us peace that passes all understanding.
“The soul who loves God only for Himself, apart from His gifts, knows indescribable peace.”
How do we cultivate this supernatural gratitude? The Bible reveals God to us – His character, His attributes, His works, His love. Therefore, we need to not just read His Word, but we need to study and meditate on His Word. We have many scholarly works available to us as well. We have the Holy Spirit to help us understand and open our hearts and minds to His Truth. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him for Who He is. We cannot help but love Him when we know Him.
Oh, I want to know You more, deep within my soul I want to know you
Oh, I want to know You, to feel your heart and know Your mind
Looking in Your eyes, stirs up within me
Cries that say, “I want to know You, oh, I want to know You, more.
Oh, I Want To Know You More by Steve Green
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