Truth Tuesday – Why Choose Gratitude?
In the day to day struggles – out there where feelings of disappointment and entitlement can lead us down paths where whining begins – why choose gratitude? In chapter 4 of Choosing Gratitude, Nancy Leigh DeMoss shares eight reasons to choose gratitude, stating that personalizing and internalizing these should be sufficient in outweighing whatever it is that is tempting us to whine about instead of worship.
Lets take a look at these eight reasons to choose gratitude ~
1. Gratitude is a matter of obedience. God commands it over and over again throughout both Old and New Testaments. So we must obey! Here are a couple verses: Psalm 105:1 “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!” Psalm 107:1 “Oh give thanks tot he Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
2. Gratitude draws us close to God. He dwells within a house of praise! And offering praises and thanksgiving to Him carries us into that place where God’s Spirit dwells. Psalm 22:3 “You are holy enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!”
3. Gratitude is a sure path to peace. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, prayer alone is vital and good. But prayer without thanksgiving will not leave us peaceful. Only prayer plus thanksgiving brings true peace. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“When prayer teams up with gratitude, when we open our eyes wide enough to see God’s mercies even in the midst of our pain, and when we exercise faith and give Him thanks even when we can’t see those mercies, He meets us with His indescribable peace.”
We have the promise of peace waiting just beyond the doors of deliberate, hard, costly gratitude. But oh what a treasure to be given!
4. Gratitude is a gauge of the heart. Continual thanksgiving is a character trait of the righteous. Psalm 140:13 – “Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name.” The more we offer thanks to God, the closer we will grow to Him — and the more it will become a habit of spiritual discipline. And the more it becomes a habit, the more extensive our gratitude will be.
As gratitude becomes a habit, we start giving thanks for everything — not just the obvious blessings like financial provision and good health, but also more challenging things that come from His sovereign hand, like problems that drive us back to Him and trials He brings into our lives for the purpose of teaching others. The more constant our God-ward gratitude becomes, the closer we are drawn to Him.
Here is another great quote in chapter 4 – “The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.”
5. Gratitude is the will of God. His will is not some mystical formula or magical solution that we need to search for long and hard. Rather, it includes obeying the clear instructions given in His Word: stay pure, love not the world, confess your sins… and “give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Could it be any clearer?
6. Gratitude is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit. In other words, it’s like spiritual fruit that proves we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. On the flip side, lack of gratitude — which is manifested by complaining, whining, bickering, and worrying — testifies that we are not being controlled by Him, but rather by our flesh. Take a minute or two today to read Ephesians 5. This is a great chapter that teaches us how we are live and imitate Christ. Ephesians 5:18-19 – “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and makin g melody to the lord with your heart, giving thanks always for everything in God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
7. Gratitude reflects Jesus’ heart. The Gospels depict Christ offering thanksgiving to the Father over and over again: when good things happened, before asking the Father for a miracle, at mealtimes, during times of suffering, and even as part of the Last Supper.
“On a night when from a human perspective He had every reason to be self-absorbed and to give in to self-pity, resentment, or murmuring… He gave Himself to God and to the world, not under coercion, but with abandon and with gratitude, grateful for the privilege of obeying His Father and of fulfilling the mission He had been sent to earth to complete.”
And since we are to be like Him, we ought to give thanks in all things and at all times, even during times of trial and sacrifice.
8. Gratitude gets us ready for heaven. Of all the many things we will enjoy in eternity, one of them is offering never-ending praise to our Creator. Revelation gives us a glimpse of this when it depicts the elders lying prostrate before God’s throne, proclaiming His holiness and power and sovereignty. So when we practice gratitude here on earth, we are practicing for an eternal ensemble of unending gratitude, preparing ourselves for what we’ll be doing throughout eternity, glorifying and thanking Him for all He is and all He has done.
What if we made everyday a “dress rehearsal”, getting ready for the actual live performance?
What reason(s) do you need to choose today for your heart to be grateful?
Have a grace full week choosing to be grateful~