3 of 40 – Human Nature, Humbleness, and Thanks Giving

Day 3 Topic: Faith and Family

Do you ever have one of those moments where you think of something that is just so awesome you can’t wait to tell someone? In your mind you build up that moment when you will share it with them, imagining they are so in awe of your awesome idea and your awesomeness in general? No? That’s only happened to me? Hmm. Well, it was kind of me at the beginning of this month. I had this idea that – while not necessarily super awesome or unique – I thought was rather clever. And I was quite proud and excited to share it.

Then I realized a couple things:

  1. I am not so brilliant that this is a brand-new idea. I’m sure thousands of people have done it or something similar. In fact, I know 1,000’s of people have done it before, because I Googled it just now. Lots of people have done it. And way better than I did.
  2. Why is it I want people to think I had such an awesome idea? Am I so proud that I want to be noticed and applauded for an idea or accomplishment? This verse came to mind: “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.” ~ Isaiah 5:21  Ouch.
  3. My “clever” idea was just a fun way to remind my kids (and Matt and I) to be thankful each day for the blessings God has provided, to remind us of HIS providence.  I was proud of my idea that was meant to keep us grateful and humble. Oh, the irony.

Human nature is a funny – and frustrating – thing. It’s always there, ready to poke it’s ugly head up at any second. Even in the moments when our spirit desires to bring Glory to God – No, especially in those moments – the desires of the flesh – the longing to be noticed and applauded, in this case – creep in and can take over if we let it. Paul calls that The Law of Sin.  He writes in Romans 7:21 “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” Hmmm…. Sounds like a verse I need to memorize and think about every time I “want to do right.”

Paul goes on (verses 22-24, emphasis my own): For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

But we can’t stop there. Because the next verse, and the first few verses in chapter 8, are the promises of God, the Hope Jesus gives: Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

I’ve written my favorite analogy for this in my Bible next to those verses. (The analogy is not my own, but one I heard first in a sermon, then later in a Freedom in Christ course): The Law of Sin is like the Law of Gravity. Always there. Always pulling us down. But how do overcome such a law? Through a greater law. For gravity, a greater law is the Law of Aerodynamics. For sin, it is the Law of the Spirit.

Yep. Always there. Always pulling me down. How thankful I am for the hope of Jesus. Who gives life and has set me free from the law of sin and death.

Thankful. Which brings me to my “clever” idea. Which 1,000’s of people have already thought of. And which a famous author (Ann Voskamp) already posted just this morning. Only hers is way better than mine. And so is her blog post about the idea.

This is our family’s Thanks Giving Tree (in a blurry pic): Each night in the month of November, we each say something we’re thankful for, write it on a leaf, and hang it on our tree.

We put 1 Chronicles 16:34 next to the tree so we remember to whom we should direct our thanks. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! Then after hanging the leaves, we thank the Lord for those things we’ve just written.

Annalise is learning to write, so it has been especially fun watching her excitement (most nights) writing her own letters, and sometimes even Jacob’s. Other times, Jacob “writes” his own, with a translation from Mommy.

These leaves say:

  • “Jacob says, ‘Leesie.'” (Next to Jacob’s own scribbles that mean he is thankful for his sister.)
  • “Family” (Annalise’s writing)
  • “A Good Job” (Matt’s)
  • And in the corner on the red leaf, you can see Annalise’s “E” from “Ellia”

Not that I’m keeping track or anything, but Annalise’s first 7 leaves seem to be missing a certain member of her family. So far, she’s been thankful for: 1. Family, 2. Izzy (the dog), 3. Daddy, 4. Jacob. Then she “couldn’t decide between Ellia and Auntie Kye-Kye.” So she picked Ellia first (#5) and “would do Kye-Kye the next night.” Except the next night she forgot and put “my bed.” At least Kye-Kye was considered. Her #7 thing she is thankful for is “Thanksgiving.” I still have 23 days to make the list… Not that I’m keeping track or anything.

My #7 thankful thing? Freedom in Christ. Not the class (although I’m thankful for that, too), but the actual freedom. I don’t have to be “good enough.” I don’t have to “work hard enough.” I can walk freely, a child of God, drawing closer to Him, without guilt, doubt, and worry that I won’t measure up. I don’t have to win the battle over sin, because Jesus has already done that for me. Thanks be to God.

Oh yes, and since Ann Voskamp did the Thanks Giving Tree much better than I did, here is a link to her blog post about it. I just cut out plain leaves from fall colored and textured paper. She actually has a printout with verses of thanksgiving on the back, and you write what you’re thankful for on the front. Genius.

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