Five Reasons We Should Always Choose to be Grateful

First, it is God’s will for us. People want to know God’s will for their lives, and when people ask about God’s will, they’re typically thinking about what they should do next in a particular area of their lives. But God’s will is, first and foremost, that we learn to give thanks, regardless of the circumstances. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18)

Second, because a grateful heart honors God & honors people. Anytime we thank someone we are honoring them.

Third, because gratitude creates fellowship and always builds deeper relationships between you and other people. Do you want to rebuild your relationship with a friend, with a parent, with a spouse, with people at work, even with people whose path you cross during the week? Whoever you want to feel more connected to, express gratitude to them. Just tell people how grateful you are. A grateful heart brings us all closer together.

Fourth, gratitude develops our faith. Can you thank God when life stinks? That’s the test of whether you’re a shallow Christian or a deep one. Can you thank God even when life stinks? When everything is going wrong? If you’re going through tough times, don’t look at what’s lost. Look at what’s left. No matter how bad things are in my life, there is always, always, the fact that I can be thankful to God just for being God.

God has promised to see me through life’s most difficult situations; to help me out, to strengthen me, to care for me, to do miracles, to answer prayer. He’s always promised that even when things don’t go my way, he can work it out for good in my life. So ultimately, his plan is in action, and it takes a growing faith to recognize that.

Fifth, gratitude serves and raises the value of others. Radical gratitude actually serves others. It becomes a ministry. We’re saved to serve others, and you can have a ministry of appreciation.

If you’ve ever bought a car you know the meaning of the word “depreciation”. The moment you drive that vehicle off the lot it’s worth less than you paid for it. Even if it’s brand new, if you take it back, it’s worth less. Depreciation means to decrease in value.

To appreciate means to “raise the value”. And this is a ministry. When you appreciate your husband, you raise his value. When you appreciate your wife, you raise her value. When you appreciate your kids, you raise their value. When you appreciate your co-workers, you raise their value to you and to the company. When you appreciate your boss, you raise his/her value.

Everybody in our life needs massive doses of encouragement. We all have a need to be affirmed, to be loved, to be appreciated. And so, does everybody else. If you want to be used by God here’s a little secret: affirm everybody. Appreciate everybody. Show gratitude to everybody.

What a great world it would be if we all just oozed gratitude from a full and overflowing grateful heart.

What Are You Grateful For?

My last blog post asked “Who are you thankful for”?, and challenged you to take a few minutes to intentionally express your heartfelt gratitude.

In this post I want to ask you a similar question; What are you thankful for this year? Scripture says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6). There is a difference in saying “Thank you” and truly being thankful. Heartfelt thanksgiving should flow from a general heart of gratitude. Anyone can focus on the frustrations of life, but gratitude is a choice. People who really understand the heart of God realize we have so much to be grateful.

Some people seem to look for reason to complain. Maybe we should spend more time being grateful than complaining. Maybe we should spend more time presenting our requests to God immersed in a thankful heart instead of being anxious and stressed out. If we all focused on all the reasons, we have to be grateful and allow a thankful heart to dominate our thinking, our lives would have much less stress and anxiety. We should be consciously aware of how blessed we truly are; being grateful affects our entire outlook on life.

Being grateful refocuses your minds and hearts on God’s faithfulness and blessings. It stabilizes our thoughts and emotions in a positive place instead of the slippery slope of negativity. Being consciously aware of all we have to be grateful for makes us more understanding, sensitive, kind, and patient. It also has an on-going deepening effect on our personal relationship with Christ and our spiritual development journey.

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’d be more thankful if…” Have you ever had that kind of thought float through your mind? It would be so much easier to be grateful if my circumstances were better or if my health was better, or if finances were better, or of my relationships were better.

It is so easy to allow our gratitude to be governed by our circumstances and emotions or by what we are unhappy with rather than by all of our blessings. Pick the topic; health, relationships, business, finances, etc. No matter how tough it is for you, there are others enduring far more over-whelming circumstances.

So, let me ask you that question again. What are you thankful for this year? Maybe you should take a few moments to get your head and heart right in the area of gratitude by focusing on all you have rather than on all that frustrates you. Being grateful, choosing to walk through life with a grateful heart and mindset really will change your entire outlook on life.

Who Are You Thankful For?

Who are you thankful for, and how often do you say, “thank you”? We all know that it is polite to say “thank you” after someone says or does something kind for us. But I am I talking more about a proactive “Thank you” where we say thank you intentionally and proactively to someone for the routine role they play in your life.

For example, saying thank you to your children’s school teacher, or volunteer coach, or to the check-out clerk who always has a smile for you, or to a volunteer fireman, or to a solider home on leave, or someone who volunteers at the local food pantry, or your wife preparing supper for the family, and so on.

There are so many things that happen every day that we have a tendency to take for granted. Little things. Routine things. But things that are necessary and appreciated. Many times, we just don’t think about it, other times we think about but fail to follow through. Saying “thank you”, writing a quick thank you note, or in our day and age, sending a thank you email, or text message really does not take much time.  

It doesn’t take long to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” and show your gratitude. PLUS it is much healthier for you than complaining.

Maybe you should take a few moments this week to communicate your gratitude by intentionally speaking or writing words of gratitude and kindness.

Heartfelt Gratitude is Rare

We can find reasons to complain every day of our lives. After all, we live in a broken, messed up world, and life doesn’t seem unfold like we wish it would many times. People, including family and friends will wrong you, good health will elude us, authority will exploit you, flat tires tend to happen when we are running late, there never seems to be enough money, well, and then we can talk about politics, taxes, healthcare, scandals, etc. 

Some folks seem to just like having something that gives them reason to complain. Simply listen to the conversations around you; there’s a lot of complaining going on.

But I would say there is far more to be grateful about if we pause for a few minutes to count our blessings. There is a difference in saying “Thank you” and truly being thankful. Heartfelt thanksgiving should flow from a general heart of gratitude. Anyone can focus on the frustrations of life, but gratitude is a choice. People who really understand the heart of God realize we have so much to be grateful. 

For example, aren’t you grateful for your next breath? Even on our really tough days, we have so much to be thankful for compared to the majority of the world’s population. Maybe we should spend more time being grateful than complaining. Maybe we should spend more time presenting our requests to God immersed in a thankful heart instead of being anxious and stressed out. (Phil 4:4-7) 

Maybe, just maybe God REALLY meant it when He inspired Paul to write Phil 2:14-16, “Do EVERYTHING without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” THEN you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. 

If we all focused on all the reasons we have to be grateful and allow a thankful heart to dominate our thinking, our lives would have much less stress and anxiety. I think it is important to be consciously aware of how blessed we truly are; being grateful affects our entire outlook on life.

Being grateful refocuses your minds and hearts on God’s faithfulness and blessings. It stabilizes our thoughts and emotions in a positive place instead of the slippery slope of negativity. Being consciously aware of all we have to be grateful for makes us more understanding, sensitive, kind, and patient. It also has an on-going deepening affect on our personal relationship with Christ and our spiritual development journey.    

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I’d be more thankful if…” Have you ever had that kind of thought float through your mind? It would be so much easier to be grateful if my circumstances were better or if my health was better, or if finances were better, or of my relationships were better. 

It is so easy to allow our gratitude to be governed by our circumstances and emotions or by what we are unhappy with rather than by all of our blessings. Pick the topic; health, relationships, business, finances, etc. No matter how tough it is for you, there are others enduring much more over-whelming circumstances.

So let me ask that question again.  What are you thankful for, even now, in the chaos that is 2020?  Maybe you should take a few moments and to “count your many blessings, name them one by one, and you’ll be surprised what the Lord hath done”.

Faith Needs to be Fueled by a Grateful Heart

The only truly lasting motivation for Christ-follower to continue following Christ is because we want to please Jesus Christ out of a deep heart of gratitude for all He has done for you.

Fear of hell is not a lasting motivator. People who choose to “follow” Christ because they don’t want to go to hell are usually not very good at actually following Him in obedience, surrender, humility, etc. Only those with deeply felt gratitude consistently will lay down their agendas, opinions, etc to follow Christ wherever He leads them.

Now, I don’t deserve to be saved, much less be in ministry. All that God does in us and for us and through us is by grace through faith. So out of a deep, abiding, heartfelt gratitude for the fact that I have a personal relationship with Christ, I want to actually give my life to Jesus Christ, and I want to serve Him in any way possible. Surrender is made easier when there is deeply felt gratitude.

I know that your heart is like my heart, and my life goal is to one day stand before Jesus Christ and have Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” At that point He says that it will be worth it all. You won’t be in heaven five seconds and you’ll say, “Why didn’t I serve more? Why didn’t I give more? Why didn’t I love more? Why didn’t I obey more?”

Hebrews 11 is the classic chapter on faith. Verse 6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  If I’m not walking in faith, I’m not pleasing God. The Bible is even more specific when it says, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” If I’m not walking in faith, I am walking in sin. That’s strong stuff!

Faith is visualizing the future in advance. It is seeing the future in the present. Every great achievement began when somebody saw it in advance. We didn’t put a man on the moon until one day JFK stood up and said, “Let’s put a man on the moon.” When he said that, the technology had not even been invented.

Faith is believing when I don’t see it. Some things have to be believed before they can be seen. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.” You have to see it in advance.

Faith is obeying when you don’t understand it. Abraham is a classic example of obeying when he didn’t understand. He was about 75 years old, and God asked him to give up all his security. God said, I want you to leave. Pick up everything and get ready for the greatest adventure of your life.

The scary part of it is God gave Abraham no details. Abraham says, “Where are we going?” God says, You’ve never heard of it. “How long is it going to take?” You’ll find out. “How will I know when I get there?” I’ll let you know.

Sometimes God will tell you to do something and you’ll think, “There’s no way this is going to work!” Yet, God says, Do it! And guess what? It works!