Paul was a man who practiced what he preached. He not only said, “Rejoice alway”, he did–even in the worst of times. But how is it that he could rejoice in his tribulations and give thanks always and we can’t? The answer, perhaps, is found in 1 Tim. 1:13-15 where Paul speaks of himself as “chief” of sinners. He was thankful because he realized how sinful and unworthy he was. He could rejoice because he knew things were never as bad as what he actually deserved.
Thomas Watson wrote, “If you wish to be thankful, get a heart deeply humbled with a sense of your own vileness. A broken heart is the best pipe to sound forth God’s praise—a proud man will never be thankful. He looks on all his mercies as either of his own procuring or deserving, if he has an estate, this he got by his own wits and industry; not considering the scripture, “ But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.(Deut.8:18). Pride stops the current of gratitude.O Christian, think of you unworthiness; see yourself as the least of saints, and the chief of sinners–then you will be thankful.”
I would add— and happy and joyful. That should get our attention. Believe it or not, this affects just about every area of our life. We pout, murmur, and complain because we think we deserve more, bigger, and better. If we really believed that we deserve nothing we would be satisfied with anything and thankful for everything. We ought to believe it because it is so. And, when we acknowledge this we will finally be able to live contentedly as the Bible tells us to do.
To reach that place we have to break away from the pack, leave the mainstream,and abandon the philosophy that tells us to value and esteem ourselves because we are worthy. Keep believing that if you please, but you’ll get what you’ve got. As long as we entertain the belief of self-worth we will continue riding an emotional roller coaster—-up one minute and down the next. Getting to the place where Paul was takes more than someone telling us we are worthless. To see ourselves as we really are we have to look to God’s Word. It alone describes man as he really is, declares what the result will be, and reveals the difference that God’s grace can make in a person’s life. Seeing that all we have is by grace we find nothing else to boast in and nothing to complain about.