You balance loose envelopes and a package in the crook of one elbow so you can pull the post office door open for a stranger. Only to watch her blithely cross the threshold with nary a glance at you, let alone a “Thank you.”
Ever gone out of your way—or not—to do something nice for a stranger or a friend or a family member without receiving even a glint of gratitude?
Why the tendency to overlook kindness?
Sad to say, I am sometimes that person. Unaware. In my head. Self-absorbed. Consequently, I’ve missed countless opportunities to express thanks for another’s thoughtful gesture or service. And I’ve squandered far too many smile opps.
Being thankful and ready to express appreciation isn’t just a common courtesy or a product of good manners, but also a spiritual practice.
Gratitude is a heart condition commissioned by God.Gratitude is a heart condition commissioned by God. Click To Tweet
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
A grateful spirit grows from a root of thankfulness to God for who He is and what He’s done for us, and in us. Thrives in a heart turned toward God with praise and thanksgiving.A grateful spirit grows from a root of thankfulness to God for who He is and what He’s done. Click To Tweet
As is true with other spiritual practices such as confession, humility, reading God’s Word, praying, meditating on Scripture, stillness before God, fasting, etc., God is faithful to bestow benefits. To gives good gifts. (James 1:17)
I’ve rounded up three of many staggering gifts that stem from an attitude of gratitude:
1. Gratitude Strengthens Relationships
You have two people in your line of vision at the farmer’s market or in the church foyer.
You know the one person to be in nature positive and uplifting.
The other you know is time after time negative and emotionally draining.
Which person do you gravitate toward?
My natural instinct is to avoid a chronic complainer whenever possible; to deepen relationships with people who cultivate gratitude not grumbling.
Gratitude creates a positive connection.
Look around you, I’ll be surprised if you don’t discover that grateful people have more authentic, deeper friendships than chronic complainers do.
2. Gratitude Promotes Contentment
Gratitude makes us thankful for what we have. Being grateful for what we have takes the focus off of what we don’t have, which leads to contentment.
Contentment is another spiritual practice found in Scripture. In Hebrews 13:5, the Apostle Paul writes, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
We can be content with what we have because we can believe what God says. We have Him, and He will never leave us. He won’t forsake us.
Relationship with Almighty God provides us with the ultimate reason to give thanks. And placing our trust in Him changes our perspective.
3. Gratitude Guards Your Heart
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Nothing vague about Solomon’s admonition and declaration in Proverbs 4:23. Our hearts need guarded. What’s in our hearts determines how we live.
What are we guarding our hearts against?
Bitterness. (Hebrews 12:15)
Greed. (Proverbs 28:25)
Gossip. (Proverbs 11:13)
To name a few.
A spiritual posture of thanksgiving requires humility. Humility acknowledges my need for God and others. And when I set my mind and heart on giving thanks and offering praise, I’ve placed a guard.
Choosing and practicing gratitude gives your spirit wings to fly above the fray.Choosing and practicing gratitude gives your spirit wings to fly above the fray. Click To Tweet
Prayer: I praise you, Lord God, for the works of Your hands and Your heart. Help me to remember your greatness and your goodness, and to live in an attitude of gratitude toward You and other. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.
What other benefits or gifts of gratitude can you name?
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