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How Thankful Are You?

How Thankful Are You?

Every day of your life, you can find reasons to complain.

After all, you exist in a broken world, and life doesn’t operate the way it was meant to. Family and friends will wrong you, good health will elude you, authority will exploit you, and so on and so forth.

I’m not giving you a license to complain, not at all. I’m just saying that it’s not very difficult for people to come up with a laundry list of reasons to complain. Simply listen to the conversations around you; there’s a lot of complaining going on!

At the same time, though, we can easily find a multitude of reasons to be thankful. God’s common grace has provided us with an abundance of physical blessings. Around this time of the calendar year, at least in America, our culture is reminding us to find those blessings and to give thanks.

What does the Thanksgiving season reveal about the human heart? Two things, I think.

First, it reveals that the human heart is hardwired for gratitude; something inside our soul tells us that we should be a thankful people. But second, it shows that, by and large, we’re not a thankful people. We relegate our thankfulness to only a few days each year, and most other days, we’re grumbling, moaning and complaining.

So today, I want to write about the human heart, complaint and thankfulness. Then, at the end of this article, I’ll give you a 13-question assessment to measure your own heart. My hope is that you would use it as resource for your family and friends before or on Thanksgiving.

The Eyes of the Heart

I’m deeply persuaded that the root of our complaint, or the root of our gratitude, is the result of the way we view ourselves in our hearts.

Here’s a breakdown of what happens.

The Entitled, Complaining Person

If I foolishly assume that I’m a good person, then I’ll arrogantly assume that I’m a deserving person. I’ll place myself in the center of my world and live with an “I deserve” attitude. Because I live with such a sense of entitlement, I’ll develop an inflated and unrealistic sense of personal need.

Because I have an inflated and unrealistic sense of personal need, I’ll expect the situations, locations and relationships of everyday life to focus their energy on serving what I have named as personal needs. But in my foolishness and arrogance, I have forgotten that this universe wasn’t created to serve me. I’m not the center of its attention, despite what I wish to think.

Inevitably, those people and places will fail to cater to, or even recognize, what I have named as personal needs. So, since I didn’t get what I thought I deserve, I have a multitude of reasons to complain and grumble.

Where does this grumbling find its roots? In my heart, because I inaccurately viewed myself with foolishness and arrogance.

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Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. This vision has led Paul to write many books on Christian living and travel around the world speaking and teaching. Paul's driving passion is to help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks with practical hope into all the things people face in this broken world. Paul and his wife Luella reside Philadelphia. They are the parents of four grown children.