“But if one loves God truly [with affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, and grateful recognition of His blessing], he is known by God [recognized as worthy of His intimacy and love, and he is owned by Him].” 

-1 Corinthians 8:3 (AMP)

Gratitude is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received.  It is something that is in your heart. A lot of times people will confuse gratitude with thankfulness. I bet you’re thinking, “There’s a difference?” Thankfulness is the expression of gratitude or an act of gratitude. Keep this in your mind because it will be important later! Now, ask yourself this question. “Do I have an intimate relationship with God?” Not sure? Well, allow me to help you answer that question for yourself.

According to 1 Corinthians 8:3, God knows people with a deeper level of intimacy by their gratefulness.

In the same way that your earthly relationships can be shallow, you can have a shallow relationship with God. For instance, you can know about Jesus saving the world, but do you know Him as Redeemer? You know about God’s love, but have you experienced His love for you?

The thing about God is that He wants to know you intimately, but if you aren’t grateful, you shut the door to your heart and leave God knocking. To better help illustrate this, let’s look at Luke 17:11-19.

Jesus was on His way into a village when He was met by ten guys who had leprosy. (Leprosy is basically a contagious disease that eats away at people’s skin. In a lot of cases, it causes people’s limbs to fall off. At this point in time, this disease was virtually incurable.) These ten lepers stood at a distance and yelled to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus saw them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” So the ten lepers ran off into town, and while they went they were cleansed! But one of the ten, noticing that he was healed, turned around and ran back to Jesus, glorifying God in a loud voice. Then He fell at the feet of Jesus  and worshipped Him, giving Him  continual thanks. Remember thankfulness is the EXPRESSION or ACT of gratitude.

Well, Jesus saw one of the ten running back to Him. He acknowledged that he was the ONLY one to come back and EXPRESS his gratitude for what had been done, and He told the man, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you WHOLE.”

Being healed and being made whole are two different things! ALL of them were healed or delivered from the disease, but one was made whole. “Whole” in this text can be translated saved, or COMPLETE. Only one man went back for an intimate relationship with God. He was the only one to receive a FULL blessing because he ran back and opened up the door to it! He not only was healed, but he came to truly know Jesus as the Healer and Deliverer; his expression of gratitude opened the door to know God on a level that he had never experienced before. The other nine’s wounds sealed up, but they did not get the fullness of God. If the one guy had lost an ear, or arm, or maybe a leg to the disease, it grew back!

Healing can come to anyone with faith for it, but wholeness comes to those that truly seek an intimate relationship with Jesus which is accessed through gratefulness.

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Let’s put away shallow things and start to get intimate with God. Write down all good things in your life on a sheet of paper. The Bible says that all good things come from Him, so give thanks to The Lord for showing you His goodness. And take note that the one leper that returned didn’t just say with his mouth, “Thank you.” He worshipped Jesus. His response came from the heart.

Once you’ve completed your list of goodness, look deep down in your heart and decide what an appropriate expression of gratitude would be. Then, watch your relationship with God reach new depths.

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“Father, I am so grateful for all that you have done, and are doing in my life. I desire to have a more full and wholesome relationship with you. Lord, show me ways that I can outwardly express the gratitude I have in my heart for You and for people. Thank You for ears to hear Your Spirit, and an open heart to receive Him. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

-Nathan Waples

5FA Intern