Everyone come meet his face with a thankful heart. Don’t hold back your praises; make him great by your shouts of joy! Psalm 95:2 (TPT)
I know it is Thanksgiving and there are lots of posts and things about gratitude and thanks, but I don’t think it’s possible to have too much gratitude so I want to share on the impact of gratitude this month. It has been something that has been on my heart the last several weeks as I have been reading through Psalms.
I have been reading through the New Testament so reading Psalms after reading what those guys went through then seeing what they’re saying in Psalms about and while being in the circumstances they were in, has been eye-opening to me. I know that some of the Psalms just seem like a lot of complaining or just wanting certain people to get justice or die, but really when you read it through the lens of the people writing it and what they’ve been through and their view on life, it’s very challenging to us today. I mean really, David was not even initially brought to be looked at as a potential candidate to be king when Samuel came to his house and he was the youngest one in his household, he was then mocked about being able to defeat Goliath, Saul attempted to kill him multiple times, his son (from Uriah) died, and the story goes on and on. So in the “natural”, David has every reason to not be one of gratitude and constant praise – we would excuse him. But, he CHOSE to be gracious in all things anyway. And this is the first thing I want to speak on.
1) Gratitude is a CHOICE.
No matter what circumstances you are in, how they affect you and how you view them are your choice. Bill Johnson says, “When difficult things happen, don’t respond according to the circumstances, respond according to the nature of God.”
So why choose to complain and be grumpy to only have it result in multiplication of others joining you and making life be about complaining, pointing fingers, jealousy, and only asking God for things or coming to him only when you need something. Which brings me to point 2…
2) Spend some time in gratitude and praise in His presence.
Think about a child that is fed, clothed, given good gifts, loved, cherished, and is so so special to his parents, but every time he talks to them he only asks for more things or goes to them when he is needing something from them, not out of love or relationship? I think this is what we (myself being included) do sometimes with the Lord. We don’t tell him thank you for all He does, not to mention who He is and His character, and His gift of the Holy Spirit that we can live with Him inside of us every single day – living, guiding, and being there for, with, and in us! It doesn’t matter what circumstance you find yourself, I challenge you to find at least 10 things you’re grateful for and just sit with the Father and pour out your praises to Him, because He is so worthy!
3) Gratitude is contagious!
When you are a person of gratitude, especially in difficult circumstances and even more, all the time, people may look at you weird or think something is wrong with you, or others may think your life is just peachy (for non-Texans, that means it’s great). But it stirs something inside of them and they are challenged, and even those people in the grocery store or restaurant that you can’t ever seem to even get a smile out of, will eventually smile (and if they don’t, a seed is still being planted inside of them every time you choose to show them unusual kindness and gratitude anyway). Your gratitude and joy are contagious – so don’t keep it in, share it with others and watch it change their lives and the ones they encounter after you…and the gratitude cycle continues!
4) Without gratitude’s relationship to grace, we cannot understand true gratitude.
Through the Greek translation (charis and eucharistian) of 2 Corinthians 4:15, it can be translated as, “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase gratitude to the glory of God.” Gratitude and thanks have very different definitions – gratitude is a genuine feeling, not just an act of saying thanks. It is from the heart and from an act of giving. Gratitude is a response to grace and Romans 5:17 says we can “receive the abundance of grace…” so we have no reason to not be people overflowing with gratitude.
So I challenge you this week to read Psalms (even just 5 or 10 chapters a day) and practice some gratitude in your life every day this week. We have so much to be grateful for, so let’s not keep it inside of us or choose to be people that don’t acknowledge it.
For the Lord’s greatness is beyond description and he deserves all the *praise that comes to him. He is our King-God and it’s right to be in holy awe of him. Psalm 96:4 (TPT)