The Power of Gratitude
You see, gratitude is a lot more than jonquils and journaling pages.
Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard-fought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle. And though there’s a sense in which anyone can be thankful–for God has extended His common grace to all–the true glory and the transforming power of gratitude are reserved for those who know and acknowledge the Giver of every good gift and who are recipients of His redeeming grace.
This book is about discovering what makes gratitude truly Christian. And how it makes life, even with all its bumps and bruises, a joy to behold.
Why Choose Gratitude?
It is simply true that the person who has chosen to make gratitude his or her mind-set and lifestyle can view anything–anything!–through the eyes of thankfulness. The whole world looks different when we do. And the one whose gratitude is Christian gratitude–directed not toward good genes or good timing but toward God Himself–finds that she deepens her relationship with Him on many levels.
But in the ongoing struggle of daily life–out there where feelings of disappointment and entitlement can easily talk louder than our best intentions–why choose gratitude over ingratitude?
For starters, here are eight good reasons. Personalizing and internalizing these alone, should be sufficient to continually outweigh whatever tempts us to whine when we should be worshiping
- GRATITUDE IS A MATTER OF OBEDIENCE
- GRATITUDE DRAWS US CLOSE
- GRATITUDE IS A SURE PATH TO PEACE
- GRATITUDE IS A GAUGE OF THE HEART
- GRATITUDE IS THE WILL OF GOD
- GRATITUDE IS AN EVIDENCE OF BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT
- GRATITUDE REFLECTS JESUS’ HEART
- GRATITUDE GETS US READY FOR HEAVEN
How Can I Say Thanks?
Gratitude is much more than checking a list or completing a transaction. We’ve read our Bibles enough to know that God is not pleased with technical, bare-bones attempts at obedience. We cannot expect true blessing for merely fulfilling a duty-bound sense of obligation. God’s desire is not just to see us doing grateful things but to see us doing grateful things out of the overflow of a truly grateful heart.
If our thankfulness never becomes more than fulfilling the minimal obligation, if we never outgrow the rote mindlessness of fill-in-the-blank thanks, we stop short of experiencing that grace -filled lifestyle of genuine, heartfelt gratitude.
It’s time to get to the heart of gratitude, to let it become more than the perfunctory note writing we may have learned as kids. Are you tired of being a whiner? Are you ready to be a worshiper? Are you convinced that ingratitude is not only a bad habit, but a grievous sin against a good God and a poor reflection on His gospel and grace? Are you ready to become the kind of person who brightens your home, church, or workplace with the fresh air of gratitude rather than constant complaints and criticism?
SPEAK UP: If your pastor’s messages encourage your heart and deepen your walk with God, don’t assume he just automatically knows this.
SING OUT: If you feel yourself slowly losing your appreciation for God and His goodness, try saying it with music.
KNEEL DOWN: Prayer is more than asking. It is a vehicle of worship and gratitude.
PRIVATELY AND PUBLICLY: How grateful to God are you when no one else is looking?
WHEN AND WHERE: There are just as many times and places in which to do it.
Gratitude changes things.
But first, you need to tell God you’re going there. Tell Him you’re going to begin letting your salvation be more than a once-upon-a-time event, but rather a daily cause for celebration and wonder.
Tell Him you’re going to make each day a fresh opportunity to watch for His blessings in things both great and small–from the ultimate, awesome gift of His saving grace, to the privilege of having a healthy family, to the pleasure of not having one of those little painful sores you can sometimes get in your mouth. (Has it occurred to you to be grateful for that recently?)
Tell Him you’re going to offer up to Him every situation and circumstance in your life, even the ones that are still sensitive to the touch, the ones that make absolutely no sense, the ones you just really don’t understand why you’re having to put up with right now. No matter how bad it gets, no matter what someone says to you, no matter how long it goes on or where it might lead, you will drop the full weight of it at His feet every night, be thankful for His strength that brought you through the day, and wait for His mercies that will be new in the morning (even though you may start needing them again at 12:01)!
In the meantime, we can go surrendered and willingly, trusting God and His higher ways, or we can go kicking and screaming. The choice is ours.
And for our own good and His glory, let’s go gracefully.