I’m thankful each day. Some of the time. When I’m not tired, hungry, or complaining about something else. I yearn to define myself as an optimist, a positive individual. Instead, I seem to have a natural talent for finding what’s wrong with things. Or what might go wrong. Despite my intention to center my life on worship and praise, my human nature steers me back to its default settings of negativity.
I’ve suffered guilt regarding this inability to rest in a constant state of joy. Time and again, I committed myself to remain positive. I read scriptures of praise and commands for thankfulness each morning with prayer and meditation. No matter how much I try to live in a continual celebration of thanksgiving, I revert back to melancholy thoughts all over again.
Why on earth would this struggle occur in my soul, since I’m redeemed by Christ?
As I reflect upon scripture with regard to thanksgiving, I realize I’m not alone in experiencing this kind of torment. The apostle Paul noted his struggle between his human nature and dwelling in the Spirit.
I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:23-25
Paul went on in the following chapter to encourage us as believers to resist the enemy’s attacks of shame in this regard. Romans 8:1 assures us of our position before God in Christ, noting we no longer serve under impossible demands which condemn us for our flawed humanness.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1
My inability to remain chipper and positive all day and night does not leave me condemned before Jesus, since my heart is submitted to him. Yet my love for the Lord compels me to depend on the Spirit to empower me to grow more into the person God intended and experience joy when I cannot do so on my own human strength. The Lord loves me too much to leave me condemned. He also loves me too much to leave me as I am in my negativity.
So my struggle reminds me of my constant need to depend upon God. I am grateful for the Spirit when my heart resonates with a spiritually positive disposition. Perhaps I’m even more thankful for grace when I’m unable to summon joy-centered thoughts. I depend upon the mercy of the Lord to bring me back to his Spirit’s power and center my heart on him each day.
Today, I’m celebrating with highest thanks for God’s great blessings. Though I’m deeply grateful for a rare day with both sons to enjoy, I also realize they will leave soon. Circumstances cannot determine my soul’s center of peace and gratitude.
Paul offers us a hope which remains ahead of us, despite any present situation we experience on earth.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerlyfor our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for usthrough wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns?No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:18-38, NIV
This lengthy passage includes vital encouragement for all who struggle this season. In Christ, we have hope to nurture our melancholy souls despite these present sufferings. In the Spirit, we have help to support us and equip us as victors in the war against the enemy’s attacks of shame and negativity. We need not lay our lives down at the feet of the enemy and accept his condemnation. Instead, we can daily take up our message of truth and depend upon the Lord to equip us for a triumphant life in him.
The treasure of thankful mindsets can prove elusive for many of us. I’m grateful for the mercy, grace, and sustaining presence of Christ to keep centering me on our conquering venture together.
What about you? What are you grateful for this season? I’m thankful for each of you, and always love to read the words of your hearts.
P.S. You’re invited to take advantage of three limited-time offers on my products and services this week!
- Book your first life-coaching session at 40% off (if you mention this notice and get an appointment on the calendar before November 30th).
- Get 50% off Beautiful Warrior and other books at New Hope Publishers this week.
- Serious Writer Academy is offering 60% off courses right now, including mine. Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY19.