Musing on Acts 4 this morning…
- Persecution, Prison: The disciples are persecuted; some have been imprisoned.
- Peter, Power: Peter’s cowardice becomes bravery; he speaks powerfully about Jesus.
- Priests, Persuasion: The wise Gamaliel persuades the priests not to execute the disciples.
- Punishment, Perseverance: The disciples were flogged; they would still keep their faith whatever.
- Priorities, Perspective: They rejoiced; they were grateful in their suffering
Yesterday I was musing on the attitude of gratitude. Our society looks for what is wrong, who is to blame; it criticises, finds fault, judges, condemns. It complains about what we don’t have, indulges in self-pity.
The attitude of gratitude turns life upside-down. It looks intentionally for the good things in life. It recognises and says ‘thank you’ when life treats you well; it shows appreciation for kindnesses, particularly when they are undeserved.
The Acts 4 gratitude is much deeper. It is more than a superficial ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ mentality with a general gratitude for life and good fortune.
Yesterday I mentioned Nancy Leigh DeMoss”. From her faith perspective she says: ‘True Christ-centred, grace-motivated gratitude fits everywhere, even in life’s most desperate moments and difficult situations. Even when there are no ‘answers,’ it gives hope. It transforms overwhelmed strugglers into triumphant conquerors…. Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard fought, grace-infused biblical lifestyle.’
St. Paul encourages us to ‘Give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I have friends going through bereavement, cancer, depression and addictions who are grateful – they look for the positives – and it transforms their perspectives.
Although sometimes gratitude is a feeling at other times it is an act of the will. It is gratitude in the dark never ending valley, in the suffering or sadness, or just when I’m having a bad day. Such gratitude effects every aspect of my life.