Meditation on Lent: Gratitude

Deuteronomy 8:11&ff:

Take care lest you forget the Lord your God…when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up and your forget the Lord your God who brought you ought of Egypt…who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna…Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” [For] if you forget the Lord your God…you shall surely parish.

We so easily forget, especially when things are going well. God help us. For when we forget God as the source of all good things we do not repent; we end in sin and death and thereby lose all good things. Yet God does give so many good gifts, and the goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2:4).

That is why the Devil works so hard at making us forget. True, he comes to steal and kill. But the direct approach, the hard attack, often drives people back to God. So Satan surrounds us with noise, distracts us with lust, preens us with pride. He seeks to make us self-reliant.

Therefore, we need penitential seasons like Lent as reminders. They reveal our weakness and throw us back onto the source of all life and goodness. Such times help us lay aside the good things God gives so that we might remember that He gives them and learn to be more thankful.

Yes, when approached correctly fasting teaches gratitude, and gratitude is essential to our life of faith because as J. I. Packer says it in Weakness is the Way, “[for Christians] Grace is the doctrine and gratitude is the ethic.” It is difficult to forget God when we live a life of gratitude.

Previous Meditation: Good Gifts                       Next Meditation: Fear and Longing

First Meditation: Hard Simplicity


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