I listened to another sermon by John Piper. It was another sermon about gratitude. I absolutely love the picture he painted, about a city under siege and surrounded by the enemy. I am that city. The enemy is constantly throwing temptations, distractions, blocking my concentration and my thoughts. I'm surrounded every where I turn around! But Piper says that there is a song I can learn that makes the enemy fall back, one the enemy hates! If I could just stop being distracted long enough to learn the words and to remember to sing the song of thankfulness...of gratitude! It is a guard against the enemy and I could walk right through enemy lines, untouched, unscathed, without scar! That excites my heart.
But, I have doubts. I'm so forgetful. I'm still so ruled by my emotions and feelings. I forget to thank God... even for the big things! How can I remember to thank Him for all things and in all things? I do feel as if I will never be intentional enough, at least not in this lifetime! But, that doesn't mean that I have to give up. I can continue to put effort into remembering. I can continue to try and plan to be intentional. One day, the Holy Spirit will make my heart one that is abundant and even overflowing with thanksgiving.
I sat the kids down today and shared the verses from Colossians 2:1-8, that John Piper's sermon covered. I told them how he said thanksgiving is a guard for our hearts. I then showed them how in Proverbs God said that Above all else.... I mean, it must be really important if He says above all else.... He says, Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). And here, Piper has helped me to unlock one of the keys to guarding my heart with all vigilance, as the ESV states: Thanksgiving and gratitude. Then I showed the kids, excitedly, as God was speaking to me, that in Phillipians we are given another key....
Do not be anxious in anything, but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus... (Phillipians 4:6-7)
This is the second tool God gives us to help us guard our hearts... pray and petition with thanksgiving (there is is again!) lead God to give us peace which protects... It guards our hearts and minds the verses say! How awesome is that? God Himself will give us what we need to guard our hearts! I'm so excited to learn this....
Paul tells the Colossians that they will be guarded from plausible arguments, empty deceit, human tradition, etc. Piper warns that the opposite of thanksgiving which is grumbling, complaining, snide remarks, sarcasm, etc. leads to just that...it is a subtle, yet effective, way for the enemy to pry us away from our song.
I feel it! The city of me is crumbling. I look back to my life that is void of that song and I cringe to think how effectively the Enemy has pulled me away from the Love of my life! How dare he! Just this weekend my mouth was full of complaining and my heart downcast over the silliest thing. At work, my unit has moved to a brand spanking new floor! It's beautiful. Everything is NEW! I got to tell each patient that they were the first one to ever sleep in this room and in this bed. Now you would think that I would be excited, happy, and grateful.... nope! I spent the entire time complaining about how this affected me! How much longer and farther we had to walk, how our team is separated by having a desk in the front and back, and how much I disliked it. This led to complaining about other employees, and well, it's all downhill from there!
So, as my journey of thankfulness continues, I will purpose to stop complaining first! Then I will purpose to continue recording what I am thankful for in my journal. I have other "projects" in the works that I will write about later. But for now, know that I am attempting to be intentionally thankful... with hopes that soon my mouth will abound with thankfulness and that my song will effortlessly, vibrantly flow from my lips and heart so that the enemy will have no choice but to fall back.
Linking with Darlene at Time-Warp Wife