How are things going in your life right now? If we’re being honest, the answers will vary. It’s been a tough year or two for many of us. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to offer up some reasons we can nurture a heart of gratitude, no matter what our current circumstances may be.
Being grateful gives us a more positive perspective. It trains us to look for the blessings in life and is good for our emotional and physical health.
Beyond that, gratitude takes us from dwelling on the harsh, even heartbreaking, situations we may be experiencing to appreciating the blessings we receive every day from the hand of God.
It’s not always easy to be grateful in hard times. But we are called to cultivate a grateful heart even amid our struggles. (Ephesians 5:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:18)
We can be grateful because:
- We have a Savior, Jesus Christ, who redeemed us from death into eternal life. (John 3:16)
- We are children of a merciful and gracious God who delights to give us good things. (James 1:17)
- God promises to give us all that we need if we seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33)
- God is good all the time. (Psalms 100:4-5)
- We live in a country that allows us to worship God freely. (Colossians 3:16)
- No matter what situation we are facing today, we know God is working all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)
- Every day that we wake up, we have more time to love our family and friends. (1 Chronicles 16:8)
- God created a beautiful world for us to enjoy. (Psalm 19:1)
- God gives us victory. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
A grateful heart is a powerful tool. Here are 7 things it can do:
(taken from Power of a Thankful Heart, Debbie McDaniel)
- It gets our eyes off ourselves, and helps us to focus back on God.
- It reminds us we’re not in control, but that we serve a Mighty God who is. It keeps us in a place of humility and dependency on Him, as we recognize how much we need Him.
- It helps us to recognize we have so much to be thankful for, even all of the little things, which often we may forget to thank Him for…but they really are the biggest, most important things in this life. It takes our attention off of our problems and helps us instead to reflect on, to remember, the goodness of His many blessings.
- It reminds us that God is the Giver of all good gifts. We were never intended to be fully self-sufficient in this life. A grateful heart reminds us that ultimately God is our Provider, that all blessings and gifts are graciously given to us by His hand.
- A heart of gratitude leaves no room for complaining. For it is impossible to be truly thankful and filled with negativity and ungratefulness at the same time.
- It makes the enemy flee. The forces of darkness can’t stand to be around hearts that give thanks and honor to God. Our praise and thanksgiving will make them flee.
- It opens up the door for continued blessings. It invites His presence. Our spirits are refreshed and renewed in Him. God loves to give good gifts to His children. He delights in our thankfulness and pours out His Spirit and favor over those who give honor and gratitude to Him.
So this next week, and every week, look for reasons to be grateful.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18