“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

My relationship with the Lord could best be described with the word “gratefulness”. God is constantly pouring his love out for me through tiny gifts and daily joys; whether it be an unexpected encounter with a friend, a short line at the café, or an especially delicious cup of tea, God loves to shower me with little pleasures. I don’t think there’s anything particularly unique about my relationship with the Lord, nor do I think that he favors me over anyone else. The only difference between a disgruntled believer and me is that I make a point of acknowledging that God truly loves me, and that he truly loves displaying that in everything. Some days I fail to remember this, and my countenance grows disgruntled and complacent, but the days I remember to credit the Lord are indubitably better, brighter, fuller. Isn’t that the case with any relationship, though? We love to be appreciated and acknowledged for our actions and character, and don’t you think God, who we’re created in the image of, has the same trait? Something I realized in the lunch line today is that God is fully entitled to our adoration and praise because he paid for it. He owns us, he owns our lives, he owns our praise. He sacrificed his son, and Jesus sacrificed his life. We could never buy ourselves back or get a “refund” on the transaction. So why do we so often forget or straight up refuse to acknowledge God’s love, after all he’s done to ensure we notice it?

God wants to be appreciated, and he gives us endless reminders that he is worthy of it. The sunrise and sunset are daily masterpieces for humanity to appreciate.You have at least one person in your life who loves you, whether you decide to return that love or not (shoutout to under-appreciated parents and friends).  If you’re reading this, that means you’re wealthy enough to own a computer or smartphone. So, you also have the great privilege of being in the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world. Do you realize that God has a big role to play in that? You have a house, an income, a beating heart, breath in your lungs, the will to think and choose for yourself. So, why do we 21st century Christians so often neglect our loving Father?

I believe that our tendency to overcomplicate things has a large role to play in this dilemma. We assume that living sacrificially for God will hurt more than living in selfish complacency. We assume that God will ask too much of us, or that we’re not worthy enough for his kingdom. We assume that our earthly lives are of greater significance than others’ eternal lives.

The simple truth is this: God loves you. He wants you to love him, and live like it.

Women, if your husband brought you a bouquet of flowers, would you ignore it in favor of social media or perfecting your Pinterest-worthy home? Men, if your wife cooked your favorite meal, would you let it grow cold on the table because the game was on? If you answered yes, you need marriage counseling. If you answered no, then remember that your relationship with Christ is a marriage. It is a covenant, paid for with blood, that requires work and honor and adoration and time. I’m not married, and some of you may not be either, but truly loving anybody requires the above criteria. Acknowledging God is an easy way to begin respecting him, listening to him, and living for him. Don’t let God’s gifts wilt or grow cold. Everything that makes your heart come alive, your insides warm and fuzzy, or your day more manageable is from God. Learn to be grateful for those everyday gifts, and joy will follow.

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