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Humility and Thankfulness

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don't cheat, I don't sin, and I don't commit adultery. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. "But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner. I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Luke 18:9-14

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. - 1 Thessalonians 5:18

As I have meditated on the qualities of humility and thankfulness in the past week, I've discovered just how strongly they are linked. We cannot exhibit one without also exhibiting the other. As we grow in one, we grow in the other and where we fail in one, we fail in the other.

In order to be truly thankful and humble, we must resist our natural tendency to exaggerate what we deserve, particularly in the area of material possessions. For example, if we are not truly grateful for the beautiful home God has given us, our pride roars when we look at what other people around us have been able to afford. Likewise, if we do not have our pride in check, we will not feel particularly grateful for our job when a co-worker is promoted ahead of us.

The Bible is full of reminders that inflated pride and a lack of appreciation inhibit intimacy with God. Psalm 10:4, says, "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."

Pride, arrogance, greed and selfishness are rampant today. Our culture has conditioned us to look out for ourselves and fight for what we're entitled to. More emphasis is placed on self-fulfillment than morality and our children are taught that it's more important to feel good than to do good. Clearly, we do not live in an environment conducive to humility and gratefulness. What can we do?

Notice carefully what James tells us. His command is to, "humble yourself." In a similar way, Paul tells us to, "Give thanks."

The apostles are not telling us to, "be humble" or to "be thankful."

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not certain how to make myself become humble or to force myself to feel thankful. If I were to attempt it and fail, then I might be inclined to shrug my shoulders and give up in despair. But no, we are commanded to do, not to be. Fortunately, I do know how to humble myself and how to give thanks, so I can concern myself with doing something tangible, instead of trying to be something intangible.

Though we may not succeed in becoming humble and thankful by striving for that directly, by humbling ourselves, we will become humble and by giving thanks, we will become thankful.

Every day, there are terrific opportunities to humble ourselves which we may overlook. It's a choice we have to consciously make whenever we feel that we may not be getting our due. When we discover that a co-worker has been promoted to the position we felt we deserved, then we can choose to compliment and congratulate them or we can choose a bitter and resentful reaction. When you volunteer for an event at your church and all that remains is the job of cleaning up, then you have a choice to make. Will you walk away in disgust because that job is beneath your talent, or will you gratefully accept the task and complete it without grumbling? Humbling ourselves is as simple as making the decision to suppress our pride whenever it rears its ugly head. The more we do this, the easier and more natural it will become until, at long last, we will be humble.

Giving thanks is likewise a conscious decision we need to make daily. As part of our regular prayer time, we need to get on our knees - metaphorically and literally - and thank God for the abundant and rich blessings in our life. We should list all of our blessings - our home, a warm meal, the love of friends and family and most importantly, our salvation - and take a moment to truly appreciate each of them. In time, we will evolve from someone who gives thanks to someone who is truly thankful.
 

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Comments


I'm blessed by this morning devotional cos sometimes I find it difficult to be thankful to God always due to some challenges in life endeavour. But thru this message and with God on my side I'll always be thankful to HIM cos HE's my all in all. If not for anything then for the fact that HE gave HIS one and only begotten son 'JESUS CHRIST' to come and died for my sins, and thru HIS blood i'm made whole, Halleluia.

Siter N. O.
2/11/2008 4:53:09 AM - anonymous


I just want to say a big thanks for this devotional. I have been feeling very upset and bitter about my work situation, and it is so humbling to read this. It reminds me that 'give thanks' and 'humble myself' is a choice that I can make. When things turn bad, the circumstances so often suck me into bitterness. Reading this just show me how can come out from it and overcome the bitterness and negative circumstances.
2/11/2008 10:09:53 AM - anonymous


Praise Jesus!!
2/11/2008 10:43:43 AM - anonymous


!! God almightly !!
2/12/2008 1:13:26 AM - anonymous


This is what I need to hear this time, The best thing one can do in order to receive more from God is to give thanks for the past he or she received from Him. Giving Thanks, opens doors. I will give thank at all time for God is a good God.Thanks again for this wonderful devotion. Anonymous 2/11/08
2/12/2008 3:19:22 AM - anonymous


I was recently diagnosed with cancer and I am currently taking chemotherapy. I trust in God, and I know that he has already healed me. I did not become upset when I received the diagnosis because I know who controls my life and my being. In everything I give thanks and praise to God. I thank Him for Jesus, and changing my life.
2/12/2008 6:27:02 AM - anonymous


Wow, you hit the nail with this devotional today. I never looked at being humble and thankful in this way; but never the less, it is the truth. We have to act in order to become.
2/12/2008 9:23:02 AM - Bar-Yehoshua, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/5/2008


Thank you for the wonderful word of encouragement.

CK
2/12/2008 11:43:10 AM - anonymous


This devotional hit me right between the eyes. This weekend we're having some friends over. They have a designer home, so I've been feeling like our house is not good enough. This is the first time I've made the connection between PRIDE and thinking we DESERVE more, which I now see is a spirit of UNGRATEFULNESS! The timing is perfect, and I will include this in my times of confession during Lent.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
2/12/2008 11:55:27 AM - anonymous


I thank GOD today and every day and humbling myself to his will not mines, this devotional has really given me more strenghth in my weak areas I say this with a humble and thankful heart in JESUS name.
2/12/2008 12:26:38 PM - anonymous


I find this devotion very encouraging and it jolted me not to take for granted blessings of our Lord upon our lives. Praise God for this devotion!

Alwin Tan
2/12/2008 7:24:07 PM - anonymous


I loved it -- the Lord has been speaking to me about financial stewardship and that whole sense of entitlement has definitely reared its ugly head in my life. It's sneaky...very sneaky and it was hard to pinpoint since I'm not all about cars and boats and lots of toys. I just was asking for A,B, and C...and THAT's not too much, right Lord? And there it was..."I deserve it, since I'm not asking for the BIG stuff."

Psalm 107:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Amen!!
2/13/2008 2:15:28 AM - anonymous


Agree! I will read this one and try to practice it. Thanks so much
a christian
2/13/2008 3:36:48 PM - anonymous



THANK YOU SO MUCH!
2/13/2008 4:08:05 PM - anonymous


Thank you so much I also agree and try to live it , A Christian and deacon in the Baptist church
2/13/2008 4:09:39 PM - anonymous


This is right on time, and a good reminder that in everything we must humbe ourselves and give thanks.
2/14/2008 11:05:54 AM - anonymous


thank you for this devotional...remember me to always to be thankful in every single thing..praise the lord
2/15/2008 10:58:59 AM - Michray, Member of Delve into Jesus since 1/21/2008


Praise God for you and this devotional. This is what I really needed to hear, and it really touched me. I know how to be thankful, but I sometimes I feel I deserve more and that's just the enemy having me to be ungrateful for what I have. I'm not homeless, I have food, I'm going through a little because I'm on a job search and that can be mind bothering. God is the head of my life and I know he knows what's best for me and he will supply all my needs, and I know and trust in him to supply me a job that I requested from him in due time, by his will not my will. At times I find it hard to humble myself I really didn't think I knew how, but by reading this devotional it let me know I'm going down the right track. To just pray, fast, be thankful, don't take things for granted, give my request to God and let go. I love the scripture Phil.4:6-7, I thank the Lord for "Delve into Jesus"
2/18/2008 2:32:48 AM - anonymous


Thank you for this devotional! It was really helpful to me as I struggle with pride alot, pride of grace, thoughts of superiority, thoughts of pleasing man, lifting myself above others. This really reminds me that I am but dust, out of the dust i was formed, and to the dust iwill return.Many times, I also try to look for self-fulfilment in my life not from God, but from material things like clothes, good appearence, popularity, excellence, having everything. But I have not followed God's will but mine own. Thank you for this devotional! I hope I will be able to commit actions that are truly serving others and being grateful for the Lord has truly richly blessed me with everything I could ever ask for.
- shuyi
2/18/2008 6:32:23 AM - anonymous


Praise the Lord.
It is only when we are truly humble are we teachable.
His Mercy Endures FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2/18/2008 12:11:02 PM - anonymous


Grattitude and humility,Becoming aware that even in misfortune there is a lesson to be learned.sometimes our father in heaven lovingly chatises us when we need it,and lifts us up when we need it.Paul says to be always content
2/18/2008 10:59:23 PM - anonymous


i love jesus!
2/19/2008 9:32:02 PM - anonymous


Before I knew the Lord, my cup was empty.
With Christ my cup overflows!
I am so thankful for God opening my eyes to see
the light of the Gospel of Jesus!
He redeemed my life from destruction!
Praise the Lord!!!
2/20/2008 1:47:13 AM - anonymous


I wanna thank Lord ihe allowed me this morning to read that, im upset because of my real feelings but i wanna try to do that, to make it something daily in my life, to humble myself instead try to be exalt time to time.
God bless u
2/20/2008 3:09:37 AM - anonymous


thank you,lord bless,we are to encourage one another,thank you for doing just that.we all need to help one another in christ.barbara b
2/22/2008 10:07:44 AM - anonymous


I struggle daily with pride and thankfullness. I often apologize to God, constantly, on why am I not thankfull? Why am I not blessed as others are blessed? Satan always tells me to look at all the unbelievers who are prodperouse and they don't serve God! Thank God that I at least recognize the areas in my walk that God is working in. Thru you, and the Holy Spirit, I was really floored , it's action not being. All else will follow eventually in Gods time not mine, that's Humbleness and Thankfullnes!! Just by recognizing and then taking action, Thank you Lord!!!
2/22/2008 3:27:31 PM - anonymous


I thank the Lord for using you, his earthly vessel to print this blessed devotional on today. As I was reading it I realized that I need to be much more grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed upon me, and still does. I plan to with the help of the Lord to walk more humbly. To trust in the Lord with all my heart leaning not to my own understanding but in all my ways acknowleging him and he will direct my path. God with me, B.M.
2/24/2008 3:07:15 PM - anonymous


GOD IS JOY!
2/25/2008 4:53:23 AM - anonymous


I have been blessed by this message Praise the Lord for it! God bless you all
2/25/2008 5:14:24 PM - anonymous


God has given me so much and he recently blessed me with a church that is there 4 me at all times!!!!!!!!! AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

-GOD is GOOD- -ALL the TIME-
-ALL the TIME- -GOD is GOOD-
3/1/2008 1:08:11 AM - anonymous


THANK YOU GOD.!!! PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.... I thank YOU JESUS for the blessing that I have received in my entire daily life. I humble myself for I am nothing without God. AMEN.... and AMEN....
FRANZ
3/2/2008 10:53:00 AM - anonymous


I like what was said about us not always being able to BE thankful or Be humble because it is the Holy Spirit that works in us both to be & do His good works. Of my own strength I am not able to Be thankful or Be humble but I can make a decision to obey & DO thank God & DO what is the humble thing to do. Through this obedience, the Holy Spirit will change us from the inside so we will become thankful & humble.
3/8/2008 11:52:18 AM - anonymous


It is becoming increasingly difficult to be humble and thankful in this world. Thank you for pointing me to the Scriptures that deal with this issue. I know from past experience that the closer I am to the Lord ie. reading my Bible and praying more, then the less trouble I have with pride. It's at this time I can cope with other's having more than me and just be thankful. I can be thankful for my home and not dissatisfied because I don't have the latest look. I really need to get back to that place where the Lord is number '1' in my life.
Sydney, Australia
3/10/2008 3:59:57 PM - anonymous


We started a soul cleansing program in my church and one of the areas we are now focusing on is the attachment we have to material possesions. This devotional has helped me realize that pride is the root cause of all desires to acquire more than the next person.
3/13/2008 1:58:00 PM - anonymous


I really like your comment on forcing yourself to be humble and to be thankful.

I've seen people who humble themselves so much that they actually depict themselves as beneath others around them, and every time they speak, they are shouting "Praise the Lord, thank you Jesus!!" This is the extreme opposite of pride, greed and arrogance. And can, in fact, become a prideful thing...."look how humble I am..."

Humility has nothing to do with our actions, as true humility is from our heart. It has to do with our ability to release control of our lives to the path the God has before us. And that comes only through humbling ourselves before God. We cannot hear from Him when we have the attitude that we're in control.

I've always heard the saying, "God's my co-pilot." That thrilled me at first, but over time, I grew realized that I was in the wrong seat. He needed to be the pilot, NOT me. I needed to truly turn my life over to Him, and not me confer with Him when I was in a troubled point in time.

For years, I would try to change things, and make things right...to be God's Holy Ghost Jr., so to speak. But God was always telling me, "I made the universe, why don't you trust in Me to work things out for you!" Finally I heard him, and that was the point that I learned to humble myself before Almighty God, and know that He was the author and finisher of ALL things, and He would be my daily guide, comforter, healer, provider, and friend.

And you know what? God did change things. And the majority of the time, He changed ME!!! I learned to love people right where they were. I learned to face challenges with boldness and not buckle under what use to be intimidating circumstances. And I've learned that God is good all the time. His grace covers me, His power covers me, His Word covers me!!

I praise Him for what He's done in my life...and these changes came ONLY through the humbling of my self before Him, and thanking Him for all He has done and will do in my life!!

KBM, Fairbanks, LA
3/19/2008 1:14:20 PM - anonymous


I liked and understand the way you separated being thankful and giving thanks and giving praise and and praising. They are different and they certainly give us a differnt attitude. Thanks for your commitment to God to write so that others have more insight into God's Word.
3/22/2008 9:14:27 AM - anonymous


I will bless the Lord at all times His Praise shall always be on my lips; my soul shall boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear and be glad, O maginfy the Lord with me and let us exalt His name forever. I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.

He will deliever you also.

To God be the Glory!!!

Amen
3/27/2008 8:39:53 AM - kayejohns51, Member of Delve into Jesus since 3/27/2008


Thank you for the word. in recent times i have allowed God to move in my life
to be humble and thankful .


1 Thessalonians 5:18
4/5/2008 8:10:49 PM - anonymous


Thanks so much for this devotional. I have been going through some really stressful things on my job. I often felt like a 'victim' in this situation. However, this devotional reminds me to be thankful to the lord for the things in my life becuase this is HIS will for me. Ultimately, I realize that His will is Always perfect, and If I humble myself and trust him, he will exalt me in due time, because GOD always has my very best interest at heart.

ss
4/11/2008 1:06:15 PM - anonymous


Praise God! I needed that today, 07/10/08. God's word is always on time. Thank you to everyone for their comments and especially to the writer of the message (devotion). I am grateful for the many, many undeserved blessings that I have in my life. I am a lead servant of a ministry and sometimes,the sin of pride creeps in so subtly, leading me down the path of self-righteousness. There is no heavenly reward for works of the flesh. That is Satan's goal, to rob us of our heavenly rewards by leading us down the path of ungratefulness and self-centerness. This is why we need to stay in the word of God and as Christian's encourage one another to stay focused on Jesus Christ. I am stregthen and have a stronger resolve to serve in humility and thankfulness to God for the privilesge of being able to work in the Kingdom of God. Be blessed!
7/10/2008 10:56:08 AM - anonymous


in every way, in every point of our mind, heart and soul. may our God be glorified as always both now and forever and ever.Amen. I urge you brothers and sisters in the Lord to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is our spiritual worship.(Romans12:1,2)
7/16/2008 4:55:47 AM - anonymous


thank you for this devotion that so very much touches my heart,
Right now my life seems so very confused with lots of things to worry abt left right and centre.ive tried so many times to be positive in my thoughts and actions but always seem to hit the wall and after reading this i now understand that the problem is pride and that is the reason i cant seem to be thankful in my life even if i try to do so!
It is very true that pride and gratitude are sisters cant claim to have one and yet i lack the other,one sin i so much struggle with in my life is pride and it seems as if it is inbuilt i try so much to work thru it but it always manifest in different ways in my life!!
I am afraid that this is the only stumbling block to my christian growth and happiness i really long so much to be content with my life as it is pse help in any way u can.
Otherwise thank you so much for your sacrificial work may God bless!!!
12/2/2008 7:51:40 AM - anonymous


Thank you for this great devotional!
12/31/2008 3:50:27 PM - anonymous


Start your day in the morning praising God and reading his word, you will have a changed life for sure. Praise God during the storm's and after.
God is worthy of our thankfulness 24/7.
Your brother in Christ service
1/4/2009 9:47:29 AM - anonymous


God is so ever present. I was just involved in a heated discussion and out of it came the need for humility and thankfulness.
3/3/2009 11:48:44 AM - anonymous


I have been in anguished by a situation at work since this summer. my family and church have told me to give it to god, but it just ate away at my soul untill i read this devotional. thank you
3/9/2009 11:15:04 PM - anonymous


Always remember YOU ARE IN GOD'S FAVOUR!!!!!!!!! God wants the very best for his people. With FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY - - - CHARITY being the greatest of all - - - this enables us to be humble and when we see the blessings being bestowed upon others and in our own lives, how can we anything but THANKFUL?
3/17/2009 10:22:50 AM - anonymous


Thanks ever so much for this devotional. I needed it desperately!
3/21/2009 1:23:11 AM - anonymous


thank you for the devotional. i havent looked at a devo online before, i found this very helpful. thanks a lot.
5/23/2009 5:21:00 PM - anonymous


Thank yo so much for this editorial,I neede this today
7/23/2009 4:51:08 AM - eddie johnson, Member of Delve into Jesus since 7/23/2009


Thank you so much for sharing this. God works SO much through others to speak to us when we need it-which is often! Praise God. May God bless you.
7/1/2011 8:14:00 PM - Anna333, Member of Delve into Jesus since 7/1/2011



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