Guilt grinds on our soul.
Guilt can be a heavy burden.
Guilt fades over time.
Guilt builds up callouses on our hearts that makes us immune to our conscience.
Gratitude fills and empowers our souls.
Gratitude brings a smile to the giver and gifted.
Gratitude creates a relational bond that lasts.
Gratitude strengthens the heart muscle for a long life of thankfulness.
Though these two motivators couldn't be more different, yet we get them confused sometimes. It seems odd but we feel guilty if we don't write thank-you notes. If you are motivated by guilt are you really feeling grateful as you write the notes? If you are doing it more out of obligation where is the gratefulness?
We do the same with God. We feel bad when we cuss, miss church, miss devotions, or sin in general. But if we are going to worship Him or represent Him well in this life because we want to avoid guilt are we really showing gratefulness for all He has done?
Don't get me wrong, guilt has its place. We will see that in the message this weekend as we encounter Joseph's brothers' guilt. Guilt has a way of guiding us to God's grace. But when we come to God's grace, our motivation for maintaining a relationship with God is completely transformed. We no longer stay close to God because we feel guilty, we stay close to God because we love Him so much, and our love is fueled by gratitude!
Think of the people you love the most in this life. When I think of my parents, my wife, my children, I am often filled with powerful feelings of love that are fueled by gratefulness for all they have done in my life. When we understand how lost, broken and empty our lives would be without the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the grace that He freely gives us, we become overwhelmed with gratitude. God has miraculously placed in us the most powerful human motivation in the cosmos: Love fueled by Gratitude. What a wonder! It shouldn't surprise us, He made us after all. He knows what makes us tick. Guilt may be what brought you to the cross, but guilt will not allow you to be all that God created you to be. You will reflect His image most clearly and experience a taste of eternity when you live your life in gratefulness to God. Happy Thanksgiving! - See you Sunday. -Kris