We live in a society with more opportunities than ever before, but we are a deeply dissatisfied people. We overwhelm our relationships, careers, and possessions with expectations, and then turn away in disgust when they fail to bear the burden of our misplaced longings.
Gratefulness: God’s plan for wellbeing
Ahead of the Keswick Convention (whose theme for 2022 is Grateful), IVP Books are partnering with Keswick Ministries to produce a series of devotionals collated by commissioning editor Elizabeth McQuoid, that reveal how an attitude of gratitude can – in an age of rampant entitlement – unlock true peace and mental wellbeing in our lives.
Covid-19, which stripped away the simplest things we took for granted, has taught us that the smallest things – a laugh with a friend; the fresh air on our faces – are unsolicited gifts from God, an attitude which can transform our displeasure into joy. These Food for the Journey study guides, which focus on key aspects of God and the Christian walk (‘Love’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Holiness’), emphasise that a life in Christ is one of eternal receiving, for which we can offer nothing but gratitude.
The cultural buzzwords of today – self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance – amplify who I am and what I need from God and the world. However, the realization that we are created beings who are owed nothing, not even the breath in our lungs, throws the glory and graciousness of God into sharp relief. It is not that who we are does not matter to God (far from it), but that God’s scandalous generosity through the cross gives us an identity far more precious than anything else – one which should drive us to our knees in worship.
Grateful for Love
A mind clouded by resentment struggles to see all that God, in sending his son to die in our place on the cross, has poured out all that heaven can give. However, a grateful heart has the privilege of seeing God’s love in greater intensity. In the Food for The Journey ‘Love’devotional, we are reminded that the Christian life is one abundantly characterised by love – not self-seeking, human love, but the love of a God on whose word the entire universe spins loving his errant, ant-like people enough to die for them.
Grateful for Hope
The ‘Hope’ devotional opens our eyes to the fact Jesus is the only safe place for our hopes. Our human tendency to put hope in created things – spouses, jobs, homes, talents – rather than the One who created them, will inevitably be frustrated. Jesus, on the other hand will never disappoint us, never stop loving us, never leave us and never stop working within us. We can be immensely grateful for such eternal security in Christ.
Grateful for Holiness
God’s holiness is a source of endless gratitude for us. The ‘Holiness’ devotional reveals that God’s holiness (far from stereotypes of holiness as involving white robes, sandals, and avoiding certain behaviours) is more than just God’s moral purity, but about how God is ‘separate’ from us and beyond our comprehension. The fact that the God whose perfection is unfathomable by the human mind should invite us to share in his holiness is a breathtaking act of grace
Written by: Emily Beater