Five Paths to a Profoundly Changed Life — The Path of Nobility

In my first post in this six-post series last week entitled “Five Paths to a Profoundly Changed Life: You Really Need To Consider These,” I mentioned my own life’s painful path. I also promised to share with you the five paths that God put me on, and on which I am still walking.

These paths have made a huge difference in my life. Where I was then and where I am now are two radically different places, because of His leading.

Here we go…

Do you consider yourself noble? Most of us don’t think about it. Nobility is considered an old-school trait only for the wealthy and hoity-toity. But that’s not its true meaning.

The dictionary defines nobility as having or showing personal qualities that people admire, including honesty, generosity, and courage (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). But this definition leaves out the a most important quality: thankfulness.

Aesop, the famous Greek writer, declared “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”

Gratitude is the foundation of a life recovered from sin, failure, and despair. Gratitude allows us leave the past behind and enjoy a new day of victory.

In the New American Standard Bible, the words “thanks” or “thanksgiving” appear exactly one hundred times in the Old Testament alone. One hundred times!

Sixty-six of those appearances are in the Book of Psalms. Thanks and thanksgiving were extremely important to writers of these songs. Without thanksgiving, we can never develop a heart of gratitude — a heart of nobility.

There are four powerful changes each of us experience when we express thanksgiving and gradually become men and women of gratitude: Praise, Poverty, Power, and Peace.

Psalm 100 stands out to me as a powerful reminder of these changes. This Psalm guided my way as I worked to become a man of gratitude in the face of my own sin and failures.

Psalm 100
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His loving kindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
(NASB)

“I Love You” — An Acclamation of Praise

Isn’t it wonderfully obvious that the writer is utterly in love with God? The greatest outcome of our own personal gratitude is that we grow to love God more than we can even imagine. When we intentionally focus on being thankful, we fall more deeply in love with God.

I began focusing on thankfulness during my darkest days. I chose to be thankful in the face of so many terrible things. Using a small notebook, I wrote down every little thing I saw or received that caused me to be thankful. Nearly sixteen years later, I still have that notebook!

I experienced an ever deepening love for God as he opened my eyes to so many blessings in my life. In my search for thankfulness, I fell in love with God in spite of the bad around me.

Try it. You’ll see what I mean!

“I Need You” — An Admission of Poverty

“He has made us and not we ourselves.” What a proclamation of personal poverty and our deep neediness! Most of us don’t get that do we?

We value our abilities, our gifts, our accolades, and our personal achievements. Yet, in the midst of all of those approvals from humans, we find absolute poverty apart from God. As the writer says, it was God who “has made us and not we ourselves.”

How can I forget my utter dependence, neediness, and poverty apart from God? When I began to truly express thanksgiving to God, I realized my inadequacy, personal need, and dependence upon Him.

You will too.

“I Represent You” — An Acceptance of Power

Nowhere in this psalm do you find the word “power.”. But don’t you feel the power as you read it?

Do you sense the writer’s great, powerful heart as he proclaims God’s goodness and loving kindness? He’s full of power! Not man-made, false power, but power that is flowing to him as he represents God.

Our world is full of supposedly powerful people. Each of us in some way is seeking power, position, pleasure, property, or possessions. The more we have, the greater our world views us.

In real life with God, real power is given not earned. It’s given by God for His purposes in our lives.

Why not stop asking God for power to accomplish your own goals? Instead of asking God to bless what you want to do, start giving thanks to Him for all He’s already done. Then His power will flow to you as you become a person who is focused on accomplishing His purposes for your life. And you’ll sense His power within you and accomplish so much more in life!

“I Rest In You” — An Activity of Peace

Finally, this Psalm ends with a relaxing and restful sense of peace. It comes from the writer’s heart that is overflowing with gratitude to God for all that He is and all He has done.

Several months ago, someone asked me, “How do I find peace in the midst of the craziness of life?” My response was, “Can you thank God for all of those things that make your life so harried?”

The reason for my question is; if I can’t thank God for then it is taking away my peace and needs to go! Plain and simple. It needs to go.

Some years ago I read a statement that has stuck with me. I don’t remember who said it, but it goes like this. “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”

Busyness takes away peace.

God offers us in Jesus Christ is LIFE. And life that is harried is not life as God meant it to be. Sure, we all have times where life gets hectic and overwhelming, but those times are supposed to be exceptions rather than the rule.

Jesus said…

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10 NASB

And He also said this…

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

John 14:27 NASB

Peace is resting in a God who is in love with you and you know it. It is resting in a God who is providing for you and you know it. It is praising Him from a heart full of gratitude.

Many proclaim their own nobility, but only those full of gratitude are truly noble.

Become a “noble soul”. Give Him thanks for everything and watch your life change!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Mark

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