What are you thankful for? It is likely that someone will ask you that question today. I can recall several Thanksgiving’s where each person around the table was asked to recite their gratitude to the group. I can also remember times when I had to dig really deep to produce an answer. Think back on the last 24 hours. Next, look back a little farther to include the last week. What do you think about first?
As I complete the exercise, I have to admit that gratitude is not my first reaction. You see, I have encountered many problems in the last 24 hours. To be real, the last seven days have not gone exactly as I planned either. It’s troubles, not gratitude that shows up first in my mind. Apparently, I am not alone. Peter encountered Christ followers that were missing the pure joy of Christ. He left us some simple advice that will help us when we are feeling less than grateful.
To start, Peter reminds us to be careful, in our troubles, not to revert back to who we were before we met Jesus. Yes, it would be easier to live like a pagan, only pursuing what feels good. But, Peter explains, since we know the truth of Christ, we must choose him again. He elaborates by showing us how choosing Christ means to “set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). This makes sense to me. Practically speaking, when I set aside my quest for success and prominence, I begin to see Jesus clearly again. And, I find rest for my soul.
Peter also encourages us to be obedient. Reminding us that it is our obedience during tough times strengthens and purifies our faith. In order to do so, we must “prepare our minds for action, be sober minded and set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13). Our obedience, therefore, strengthened by our tested faith produces “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:8).
At this very moment, I am grateful for Thanksgiving. I hope that you too will have an opportunity to stop and remember why we choose to follow Jesus. Peter sums it up wonderfully for us in 1 Peter 1:3-4. He reminds us, that Jesus “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Give Thanks!