Growing in Gratitude
Most likely you are not aware of the all the thoughts you have in a day. According to PsyD Jennifer Hawthorne, we can have up to 60,000 thoughts in one day. 80% of these thoughts are negative). These negative thoughts stem from a focus on self. A focus on our circumstances, comparison to others and ensuring that we are living our best life can drive us to these negative thoughts. All together this is a recipe for a gratitude deficiency. How do we fight against this negative current and grow in our gratitude?
Take Thoughts Captive
We are not aware of how negative we are. We each need to take prayerful consideration and notice of our thoughts. If we don’t take our thoughts captive and subject them to truth, they are inclined to be negative. So, how do we take our thoughts captive?
When a negative thought about you, your circumstance or someone else pops up, confront it with truth. Gratitude is the best truth. For example, a thought of doubt of salvation could be fought with saying something like this “I am thankful my position with God is not based on what I did but what Jesus has done.”
Paul mentions in Roman 7 that we will be fighting with our flesh. He also saying Episians 4:22 that we must put off the old and put on the new. This battle for gratitude takes effort. A habit of gratitude doesn’t fall on your lap, it happens through a grueling fight with our minds in which are prone to wander.
Place Your Mind on Things Above
When my father was a young boy his great-grandfather woke him up early and took him out to a field. He said to my father “I’m going to teach you how we worked and kept our joy as slaves.” They worked out in the hot field for hours and my dad became faint. He said to his great-grandfather “I have to stop, I’m going to pass out.” His great grandfather said, “You can’t afford to pass out, sing with me”. My father began to sing an old negro spiritual. He told me some of the songs were full of sorrow but rooted with praises to God to pronounce their gratitude toward him. Before long, it was quitting time. My dad made it through this lesson on gratitude and joy despite his circumstances.
James tells us in chapter 1 verse 3 to “count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds.” How do we do that? I think my great grandfather had the secret. He taught my dad to sing songs of gratitude toward God even when his situation didn’t account for the gratitude. See, my great-grandfather knew that he was God’s child. Nothing can steal the joy and gratitude away from a man who knows he is God’s child. Our gratitude can’t be motivated by our situation. 1 Thess 5 say …”give thanks in all circumstances. This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” It is the will of God for Christ followers to be thankful in all circumstances. This gratitude this joy is a correct response to what Christ has done for us.
Remember the good news
We have been saved by grace through faith. The Creator of the Universe died for you that you may be with him forever. Daily preaching the gospel to yourself will draw you toward gratitude.
The psalmists were masters of gratitude. A majority of the psalms are filled with lament, crying out to God due to difficult circumstances and heartache, but the psalms end with raising their gaze to hope, trust and gratitude. Living a life of gratitude is not stuffing down every negative emotion or thought we have, but rather acknowledging it and lifting our eyes to the Giver of Life. I have attached link to a list of Psalms of gratitude. I challenge you to read and pray through them. Part of growing in gratitude is adding gratitude into our prayer life.
As representatives of Heaven and of our Glorious King, let’s be a people who lead out in gratitude.
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