To read the other posts in this series click HERE.
As I spent time with the Lord and prayed about how to end this series, He kept bringing me back to gratitude and thankfulness. I started this series talking about gratitude (you can read it HERE), and I’ve mentioned it along the way, but even though we’ve talked about it already, I feel it’s so important to remind ourselves that our contentment all comes down to gratitude and being thankful for what God has given us. If we are praising the Lord and thanking Him for what He has already given us, then we won’t have time to look around and focus on what we don’t have.
I do a daily devotion with my daughter and a couple weeks ago the title of the devotion was “Do the Happy Dance”. The author writes,
Why praise? Because when you get a glimpse of something awesome – God’s goodness and love – it’s natural to want to [take it in]. Plus, when you are in a party mood, nothing can get you down. There’s no room for worry or fear. There’s no room for sadness or jealousy. In the presence of a supernatural, almighty God, your heart is full of joy for the One who is worthy of praise.” – Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids)
When we praise the Lord and focus on His goodness, there’s no room for jealousy, comparison, discontentment, etc.
Think about the fist thing you do each day. Are your first thoughts each morning, “Thank you Lord for life, for the beauty of this day, for everything you’ve provided for me!” Or is the first thing you do each morning to grab your phone and go on social media, where you subconsciously start comparing your life to all the “perfection” you see on Facebook or Instagram.
The beauty of the Lord is that He gives us freedom to think what we want to think, He doesn’t control our thoughts but He desires that our thoughts be filled with Him.
When we forget to fill our thoughts with praise and thanksgiving to Him, we tend to instead fill our minds with the world, which will never lead us to fulfillment.
Drink deeply of the pleasures of God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives to all who turn to hide themselves in Him. Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy! For all who fear Him will feast with plenty. Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry, but those who passionately pursue the Lord will never lack any good thing.” Psalm 34:8-10 (tPt)
I love the picture the Psalmist paints in this passage – “drink deeply of the pleasures of God” and in our worship and thanksgiving the Lord will provide for us so we will “never lack any good thing.” What a beautiful picture of a Father that loves us so much that He wants to provide for us abundantly!
Our Father loves us so much that He doesn’t want us to lack anything, however the enemy loves to lie to us and show us, through comparison, where we are “lacking”, so instead of us feeling fulfilled in the presence of the Lord, we fill our thoughts with the shallow lies of the enemy, and turn ourselves over to a mindset of lack.
The only way we will ever be fulfilled and content with our marriages, our possessions, our jobs, etc., is if we focus on praising the Lord and being thankful for how He has already provided for us!
You are faithful to fulfill every promise you’ve made. You manifest yourself as Kindness in all you do! Weak and feeble ones you will sustain. Those bent over with burdens of shame you will lift up. You have captured our attention and the eyes of all look to you. You give what they hunger for at just the right time! When you open your generous hand, it’s full of blessings, satisfying the longings of every living thing. You are fair and righteous in everything you do, and your love is wrapped into all your works. You draw near to those who call out to you, listening every closely, especially when their hearts are true. Every one of your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for. For you hear what their hearts really long for and you bring them your saving strength!” Psalm 145:13b-19 (tPt)
He is faithful. He knows what we need and when we need it, and when our hearts are true to Him, He will provide for us “even more that what [we are asking] for”.
When we spend our time focusing on our lack, and listening to the lies of the enemy, we are only depriving ourselves of what our God wants to do for us. Look at Eve, instead of looking around at the abundance the Lord had given her, she listened to the lie of Satan, that there was more, God was “holding out on her”. You might not be living in a “Garden of Eden” but I guarantee that if you take time to look at the blessings God has given you, you’ll be shocked.
In a culture that’s always telling us we need more, we need to stop. We need to stop wanting and start worshiping!
If you read the Psalms they are filled with pain and heartache, but most of all praise. In fact the book begins and ends with the author praising the Lord for His goodness, which is how I believe we should begin and end each of our days. If we start each day off with a mindset of praise, it will be a lot harder for the enemy to point out the lies of “our lack”.
If you are really struggling in this area, and are having a hard time feeling thankful, I recommend printing out a Psalm, or two, and reading them first thing in the morning, and right before you go to bed each night. Psalm 147 is one of my many favorites, in The Passion Translation it’s titled “Our Amazing God.”
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! How beautiful it is when we sing our praises to the beautiful God; for praise makes you lovely before Him and brings Him great delight! He heals the wounds of every shattered heart. He sets all His stars in place, calling them by their names. How great is our God! There’s absolutely nothing His power cannot accomplish and He has infinite understanding of everything. God supports and strengthens the humble, but the ungodly will be brought down to the dust. Sing out with songs of thanksgiving to the Lord! Let’s sing our praises with melodies overflowing!” Psalm 147:1, 3-7 (tPt)
Psalm 145 is another one of my favorites, and my prayer for you, that you would know the depths of His love for you, that you would experience His goodness, that you would fill your thoughts with His praise instead of listening to the lies of the enemy.
My heart explodes with praise to you! Now and forever my heart bows in worship to you, my King and my God! Every day I will lift up my praise to your name with praises that will last throughout eternity. Lord, you are great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds you. Your magnificent splendor and the miracles of your majesty are my constant meditation. Your awe-inspiring acts of power have everyone talking! I’m telling people everywhere about your excellent greatness! Our hearts bubble over as we celebrate the fame of your marvelous beauty, bringing bliss to our hearts. We shout with ecstatic joy over your breakthrough for us. You’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and so very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. God, everyone sees your goodness, for your tender love is blended into everything you do. Everything you have made will praise you, fulfilling its purpose.” Psalm 145:1-3, 5-10a (tPt)
This should be the prayer of our hearts every day of our lives, so I’m placing it at the end of each of the posts in this series –
God, empty out of my heart everything that is false – every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth – but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you.” Proverbs 30:8-9a (tPt)