Remembering in Gratitude

People in the states call today Black Friday. It’s considered the first official Christmas shopping day of the year. They call it Black Friday because it’s supposedly the one day in the year retailers are able to “get back in the black” from this one day of shopping. I call it Black Friday because of the chaos, greed, and the pure ugliness what people are willing to do to get a better deal. And you know what my favorite part about Black Friday is? It follows Thanksgiving—a day where we lift up our gratitude for all the things up until that day, and we find ourselves immediately discontent with said things and want to find more stuff to satisfy us right after celebrating Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m the last person to past judgement on anyone who partakes in Black Friday. You may not find me in anywhere near any retail outlet today, but I do find myself checking out sales on the Internet through this entire weekend. My inbox this morning was filled with sales and deals from Amazon, Zappos, Newegg, eBay… the list goes on forever. I would like to say that I am impervious to their marketing, but deep down in my heart I do think, “If I only had this brand new <insert-awesome-new-thing>, it would make my life better.” With that very thought passing through my mind, I am no better than anyone else.

It’s not just in the retail space where I find myself discontent. I heard through the posts of Facebook a friend of mine finally proposed to his long-time girlfriend. They shared so much history together, it was inevitable that they were going to be married. I was excited for them—I congratulated them. But when I looked through the photos of their engagement celebration, the thought crept in wondering when will I get to have that experience? My friend just got promoted in his company, his career is taking off. From outside looking in, it seems like he’s at the top of his game. “When will I be there?” I thought.

It’s like I threw away every thing that was good before those moments. Why is it I always want more and can never be content what I have now? Why do I never remember where I was—selfishly being in the darkness pushing my LORD away?

I found myself wanting to train my mind—my heart—for Thanksgiving. I can’t think of being thankful for the sake of being thankful. There isn’t much weight behind that thought. But I wanted to remember where I was and how my sovereign and loving Father took me out from the mire and lifted me and placed me on His shoulders. I wanted to remember while in this earthly body, I am always going to be a work in progress. The life that I live and the predicaments I found myself is part of a larger story being written in the story of this world. How I respond with free will choice is a decision whether or not I love and trust my Maker. And when I find myself where I think I’m in darkness alone, will I remember the time when He found me and rescued me time and time again? I must remember all those things to be truly grateful and content.

Realizing that maybe it’s just another step I’m taking to grow in the Spirit.


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23, NIV)

Anyone can believe and acknowledge the existence of God, His Son, the crucifixion and the resurrection.  But believing is not enough.  Even the demons believe (James 2:19).  What do I need to do to separate myself from just a believer to an actual follower of Christ?

I, personally, needed to ask myself, “If Jesus were to walk in my shoes, would He really do what I do?”  I cannot live life in a way where I do what I want and pray that God will always forgive my sinful decisions.  That is not the way to live as a Christian. Do not live by grace alone.  Just because we will be forgiven, it doesn’t mean we should keep sinning (Romans 6:1-2).

I can no longer be just a believer.  I need to fully devote my life to His teachings.  I need to be committed 100% to God.  But I know I cannot do this alone.  I need God to work through me.  The actions I take should be directly from Him—inspired and worked through by the Holy Spirit.  This requires me to give myself up for Him that way I can find the life worth living for (Matthew 16:25).

From this day forward, I will commit my life to Jesus Christ.  Let His will be done through me.

So… exactly where do I begin?