Currently Wednesday night is called F.A.R.T. night in our house. Yes, I know its disgusting, but I have all elementary age kids right now, and they think it is hilarious.
And I’ll be honest. They came up with the acronym BEFORE they came up with the phrase it would represent. So F.A.R.T. stands for Family Awanas Reciting Treasures. You’ve got to give them some points for creativity.
The short story is we have loved Awanas in the past, but this year, with moving, with starting a new school, and with everything else we were asking the kids to adjust to doing, Awanas was a bit overwhelming for them. However, memorizing scripture is super important to me, so I tried to come up with a creative way to incorporate scripture into their lives.
And so F.A.R.T. night was formed. It has become our family night, our sacred night together. The only rules are no TV watching and only those who can recite all the verses get dessert. Because there is always dessert on F.A.R.T. night. And the verses are cumulative. We make them earn their dessert around here.
Last week it seemed fitting that our new verse for the week was found in I Chronicles 16:34. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
All week long I have been saying, “What’s one reason we can give thanks to the Lord today?” and they have been replying, “because He is good.” I follow up with “what is one good thing about God?” and they reply, “His steadfast love endures forever”.
Meditating on that truth has been eye opening for me and has forced me to keep asking myself the questions, “Am I thankful simply because he is good? Do I truly appreciate what it means that his love is steadfast and endures forever?” How do I learn that truth deep down in my soul and allow that truth to dictate my life?
See this verse in 1 Chronicles happens after the people have chosen sinfulness for years. They have walked away from what God asked of them, they were selfish and eager for power and victory over their enemies and have suffered the consequences of their choices. Then David steps onto the scene and pushes the people back to God. They go get the ark of the covenant and bring the presence of the Lord back to Israel and repent. Its at that moment we see the statement.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever.”
The Israelites realized they had blown it. They had chosen their own way. They had not obeyed all God has asked of them, and they suffered. BUT YET, after realizing their sin, they now understood on a whole deeper level the incredible gift it is that God’s love does not ebb and flow like our devotion to him does. That realization led to true thankfulness.
We are the same way. Over and over again, we wander away from the Lord. We forget He is with us. We give into fear or worry or anxiety. We complain and grumble. We judge our neighbor. We manipulate situations in order to get our way. We don’t love everyone the way God asks us to love.
Our problem is we just sometimes forget how evil those “little” sins truly are. Little white lies, judgmental attitudes, worry, they surround us all the time and so we start to justify them. And then we read in Romans 1 “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
How many times do we think we “know God” but yet don’t honor him when someone cuts us off on the highway or our kid spills yet another liquid all over important papers or our boss asks us something and it is easier to tell a little lie than to suffer the lecture or disappointment that will come with the truth.
Romans 1 reminds us that honoring God and giving thanks to God go hand in hand if we want to fight against the futile thinking and the darkness of our hearts. Its hard to honor God when we don’t acknowledge the sins we commit against God.
Maybe that’s why James tells us to “confess our sins one to another and pray for each other that we may be healed.” Saying your sin out loud to someone else sure does make the sin feel a bit heavier and the repentance a bit more important. It also reminds us that we really aren’t God, and makes us truly thankful that God is good and his love does not depend on our actions. That true repentance which leads to honoring God is what heals us from our futile thinking and darkened hearts.
Maybe this Thanksgiving we all need to confess where we’ve chosen sin a bit more. And not in the way where we post on social media with #reallife after it so it sorta feels justified and funny. But true confession where we recognize where we have fallen short and need to repent, and then allow the Spirit of God to change us.
If your heart doesn’t feel thankful simply because God’s love is steadfast, maybe confession is the place to start.
At least that’s where I’m starting.