I’ve discovered that people naturally cringe at the thought of being accountable. It requires vulnerability, participation, engagement, and ultimately, results. However, in my quest to embrace accountability and all of its implications, I’ve found a freeing grace that lives just beyond my willingness to accept it. You may not know it, but accountability and thanksgiving go hand in hand.
As long as I can remember, I’ve had a giddy enthusiasm for fall. It’s the time of year when the thermometer releases its fiery grip and gives way for the cool breeze of change whooshing through our souls. Welcome, sweet autumn!
And Thanksgiving – who doesn’t love Thanksgiving?
Family…Friends…Feasts…It’s the seasonal trifecta culminating in one fresh-out-of-the-oven-pumpkin-pie day!
Always read the Bible expecting your weaknesses to show (because they will).
And it’s here where accountability enters in. In the One Year Bible this week, I read these words in Hebrews that may seem overpowering, yet are tempered with freedom and grace:
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable” (Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT).
In the preceding verses, we learn of a rest that comes through obedience in patterning our Sabbath after that of the Lord’s:
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11 NIV).
In the scriptures following Hebrews 4:12-13, we are comforted by the truth that we have a High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses and encourages us to confidently approach His Throne of Grace to receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
How precious is our Lord to surround the intimidating truth of our full exposure to Him with words imploring us to enter His rest and receive grace and mercy that only He can provide.
Sometimes homonyms can hinder holy hearing.
In this first week of November, I’d trustingly placed my heart in God’s hands, eagerly awaiting revelation. What part of my life was I ready to explore, hand-in-hand with my Father, surrounded by His rest, grace and mercy?
Yes, Thanksgiving. A wonderful day to gather with friends and family, enjoy a once-a-year feast, watch football, and plan the annual black Friday shopping route.
But Thanksgiving Day was not what that soft whisper into the recesses of my spirit implied. And I knew then that God had brought me face to face with my exposed heart.
Not the day of Thanksgiving, but the way of thanksgiving.
My heart sank. I was saddened and ashamed at how I’ve neglected giving thanks to the One who is worthy. For years I’ve overlooked the worshipful practices of entering His gates with thanksgiving and giving thanks in all circumstances.
What could deplete a heart of thanks that should be thus replete?
At the verge of recoiling, I felt the pillow of His rest catch my fall. And then I remembered the mercy and grace He’s so willing to give in my time of need. I had allowed Thanksgiving to overshadow my thanksgiving. But through this accountability encounter, I’ve also allowed the Lord to work a new way in me – a way of thanksgiving – through trusting His way of rest, grace and mercy.Take care not to let your Thanksgiving outshine thanksgiving to your God. Click To Tweet
You’ll always be fruitful with a cornucopia full of thanksgiving.
“And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way” (Colossians 3:15-17 MSG).
So the work of cultivation begins – weeding out distractions and sowing seeds of thanks. And as we carefully tend to our hearts with the Word, row by row, and as we speak the name of Jesus over our lives, detail by detail, the way of thanksgiving will flow from our spirits and testify to the goodness of our Lord.
Today is thanksgiving day, as is every remaining day of my life. Will you join me in being accountable to cultivating a heart of thanksgiving?
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