"When we take simple blessings for granted as if they were owed to us, or conversely, when we start to think that our house, our car, our wardrobe, or our general station in life is beneath what we deserve, ingratitude finds all the oxygen it needs to thrive.
So how do we cultivate a life of gratitude? There are many ways to cultivate gratitude, here are a few:
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It has been good and helpful these last eight weeks to focus on the subject of gratitude. But today we must determine to move past the attitude of having seasons of gratefulness to making gratitude a day-by-day, lifetime habit.
What does this look like? Is that even possible? How can we maintain this kind of attitude?
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth gives the illustration of a Hungarian man who goes to his local rabbi saying, “Life is unbearable.” The man tells the rabbi that there are nine people living in his one-room house. As a solution, he is told to bring his goat into the room.
What??? “Just do it, and come back in a week,” the rabbi tells him.
The man comes back a week later, but he is worse off than before. The goat is a filthy mess and is wreaking havoc in that one-room house.
“Then go home and let the goat out,” the rabbi tells him, “And come back to me in a week.” The man comes back all smiles.
“Life is beautiful! We enjoy every minute now that there’s no longer any goat—only the nine of us!”
This is a funny illustration, but it is so true that our thankfulness many times is based on our perspective. On how we view the situation.
"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
Hardships, tragedies, disappointments….they are going to happen. It’s not a matter of if they happen. It is when they happen.
James 1:2-4 says,
“Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [patience]. And let steadfastness have its full effect, [Let patience have its perfect work] that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
These verses encourage us to be joyfully expectant of the trials of life. Don’t be surprised. Though Satan may be at work to discourage us and trip us up, God’s hand is in the details.
We must not have an attitude of dread—laying low and sinking into a depressive state when things don’t go the way we planned. That attitude will not be a part of our lives if we are living a day-by-day life of gratitude.
“I want your story to be rewritten into a tale of God’s grace.” —Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Consider the cross. The cross was a big part of Jesus’ earthly story. But God turned that pain and agony into victory. What Satan means for evil, God means it for good. (Genesis 50:20)
Though gratitude is ultimately a work of God in our hearts, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), it also involves effort on our part. There are things we can DO to grow in gratitude.
“...Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12
God is working in us to change us into a child of His that is full of praise and thanksgiving, and at the same time, He expects us to be obedient, putting into practice those things that will promote gratitude in our hearts.
Nancy lists some of the things you and I can do that will keep us focused on gratitude each day of our lives and help us to grow in thankfulness.
How are you going to choose gratitude this week?
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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