Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18
Gratitude is a habit I must consciously cultivate. It doesn’t automatically come naturally. I choose to stop focusing on problems and bad things. I choose to focus on good things. I do this because God commands me to do it and I love to obey Him. His commands are always given to bless me and benefit me.
- Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8
Interestingly, as I choose to take my thoughts captive for Christ and think on the good things, God changes me. He begins to make me more like Jesus. He begins to transform my heart and mind. The more this happens, the more clearly I can hear Him and discern His will.
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2
When I focus on thanksgiving and on the good things in my life and the good things about God – my perspective changes. My faith increases. My joy skyrockets. My peace multiplies. God’s Spirit feels at home in my life, and I am filled up more and more with Him and His goodness.
Thankfulness and contentment go hand in hand.
I can’t be content if I am focusing on everything that is wrong in life or in other people. The more I focus on yucky things, aggravating things, frustrating things, complaining, arguing, and trying to force my way, the more miserable and discontent I will be. And the more miserable everyone around me will be.
But when I am thankful for things – the good things and the trials – knowing God will use all things for my ultimate good and His ultimate glory (Rom. 8:28-29), my whole perspective shifts. I open the access gate to heaven in my life. I open the door to Christ. When He is welcome and my heart is right, He opens the floodgates of heaven in my life to provide for what He knows I need to accomplish His perfect will.
Thankfulness leads to peace!
When I am thankful, I trust God more. I rest in His love and provision. When I trust God, I am drawing near to Him. And the closer I am to Him, the more the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in my life. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
I want to challenge you to think of 20 things for which you are thankful today.
- Blessings in your life.
- God’s physical provision.
- God’s spiritual provision.
- The good qualities of your family, friends, and loved ones.
- The good things about your job or school.
- Aspects of your health and body.
You are welcome to write down more than twenty things. But I would encourage you to do at least twenty. If you have some serious time to devote to this, you may be able to think of 10-20+ things about each person who is close to you in your life.
Perhaps this would be a wonderful daily or weekly habit? Or you may just want to keep a notebook handy (or the notes on your phone) so that you are looking for things to be grateful for all the time and you just keep adding to your list.
What are some things for which you are thankful if you would like to share with us?
FOR YOUR QUIET TIME WITH GOD THIS WEEK: