So how do we cultivate a life of gratitude? There are many ways to cultivate gratitude, here are a few:
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What are you grateful for?
We hear that question quite frequently. Especially during the Thanksgiving season. This is “Gratitude 101.” The basics.
But though we may have a list a mile long containing things that we are grateful for, our list most likely would differ from that of our unsaved neighbor’s, not only in its content but also in its purpose.
This has been a theme throughout this study. Christian gratitude is different than the world’s gratitude, and it is paramount that we come to understand and embrace Christian gratitude. Gratitude that not only sees the million-and-one things on this earth that we enjoy—the obvious things, but that also sees the many more things that come from the heart of our generous God.
It is these, the inanimate gifts from the heart of God, that I am grateful for and that motivate me to keep going. To not give up. To keep serving. To keep loving in a very broken world. The older I become the more my eyes are opened to my own brokenness and the brokenness around me. It can get discouraging at times. It’s ugly. But I must have eyes to see God’s goodness in the land of the living.
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
What a verse that screams HOPE!
This, my friends, is just another unique quality of Christian gratitude. My eyes may see broken, broken, broken, but my heart sees grace, grace, grace!
Paul told the Ephesian Christians,
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18
Open your eyes! Are you seeing only with your physical eyes, or are you seeing with the eyes of your heart? I want the eyes of my heart to be opened to see. To see the graces of God in this broken world.
Though we are referring to spiritual blessings, we cannot deny the blessings we see with our physical eyes. These visible, material blessings are given to us by a good God. We must regularly be thanking Him as He brings them to us.
"Let us daily praise God for common mercies—common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless that when deprived of them we are ready to perish." —Charles Spurgeon
Whether it is our abode, apparel, apples, or asparagus; our beds, our blankets, our books or our breakfast - they can be taken for granted. You can go right down the alphabet naming thousands of things we take for granted every day.
As a side note, a fun game to play on your next trip would be, “I’m thankful for ________________.” The first person would state an item beginning with the letter “A”, the second person would repeat the first item beginning with “A”, and add a second item that begins with the letter “B”, and so on. This is a fun memory game for children, or for those whose minds are getting old and need to be exercised. It may also help you fall asleep at night as you go through the alphabet thanking God for the many good things He’s given you.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
God is always good, and always gives good things. Tangible and intangible. It is when we cross over into the intangible that the list is longer than we can even comprehend. These intangibles are spiritual blessings.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places...". Ephesians 1:3
This passage goes on to describe just a few of these spiritual blessings. Take a moment to turn to the first chapter of Ephesians and read through verse ten. Spiritual blessings abound!
And so much more! Can you name any other spiritual blessings?
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, the author of Choosing Gratitude, suggests a few that compel us to give thanks:
We must give testimony to others of tangible gifts, of spiritual blessings, and also the relational blessings He gives. God chooses to send us good gifts through our friends, our family, and other believers.
The apostle Paul lets us know in his letters that even the things we receive from others are from God, and Paul consistently thanks God for them—their faithfulness, generosity, love—Paul’s life was marked with gratitude. And so should ours be.
I must not take acts of kindness and sacrifice for granted. I may never fully know the impact of a note or some other demonstration of gratitude. Thank God for those relational blessings, and may He use my life to be a blessing to others.
Reasons for giving thanks are abundant!
"Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! ...Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." Psalm 68:19; 103:2
What are you especially grateful for today? God's nearness? His holiness and faithfulness? Or, His incredible mercy towards us?
Christian Gratitude Journal for Women
This Christian Gratitude Journal for Women is produced by Pretty Simple Press. It's a 52-week inspirational guide to a life with more prayer and less stress.
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