Worship is designed to move the meditation of your heart from self-centered complaint to Godglorifying praise. Every day of your life you will find reasons to complain and every day of your life you will have reasons to be thankful. These two themes, complaint and gratitude, pull at the heart of each of us. They form fundamentally different ways of viewing the world because they are rooted in fundamentally different ways of viewing yourself. What is your default language? Do you find it easier to complain than to give thanks? Is grumbling the ambient noise of your existence? Are you easily irritated and quickly impatient? Do mundane things get under your skin? Would the people who live nearest to you characterize you as a thankful person or a complaining person? Do you look at your world and find yourself blown away at the many reasons you have every day to give thanks? Do you see yourself as one who has been showered with blessings? Are you humbled by the myriad things in your life that you regularly enjoy, but that you could never argue that you deserve? How often do you whisper thanks to God or communicate thanks to those around you? But the lifestyle of complaint and the lifestyle of gratitude are both rooted in the way you view yourself. Complaint really is an identity issue. If you have placed yourself in the center of your world, if you have reduced your active field of concern down to the small confines of your wants, your needs, and your feelings, if it really is all about you, then you will live with an entitled, “I deserve _____” attitude. And because you do, you will have constant reason to complain. You will be constantly focused on what you want, you will have an inflated sense of what you need, and you will be all too conscious of how you feel. So you will grumble your way through life. Why? You will grumble because the reality is that you are NOT at the center; life is NOT about you. The universe doesn’t operate to satisfy your desires. It is a dark, discouraging, miserable way to live. But if you humbly admit that as a sinner you deserve nothing but God’s wrath and that every good thing in your life is an undeserved blessing – earned for you by Christ, you will find reasons to be grateful everywhere you look. Feelings of thankfulness rather than disappointment will fill your heart. This is where worship helps profoundly. The regular gathering of God’s people for worship serves to shift your meditation from complaint to gratitude by reminding you of who you really are – God’s dearly loved child – and confronting you with the beautiful and faithful mercy of God toward you. As the gospel puts you in your place, it also puts praise in your mouth, and that is a very good thing.

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