To a significant degree, your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, as well as the health and stability of your relationships with others, will be determined by your gratitude quotient.
I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways; I can whine or I can worship. And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible.
A grateful man or woman will be a breath of fresh air in a world contaminated by bitterness and discontentment.
It would surprise me to think that you woke up this morning saying, “My, if I could just be a more thankful person, my life would be so much better.” Lack of gratitude rarely presents itself as a source of our problems.
Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard-fought, grace infused, biblical lifestyle. And though there’s a sense in which anyone can be thankful for God has extended His common grace to all.
Christian gratitude involves:
Recognizing the many benefits we’ve received from God and others (including those blessings that may come disguised as problems and difficulties.
Acknowledging God as the ultimate Giver of every good gift.
Expressing appreciation to Him (and others) for those gifts.
The more affluent we are, the higher our standard of living, it seems, the more demanding and discontented we become. Be careful where you place the bar for what you can and can’t live with or without. The height of that baseline affects just about everything.
Gratitude unleashes the freedom to live content in the moment, rather than being anxious about the future or regretting the past.
We would not for a moment believe that a man who abuses his wife is a Spirit-filled Christian. Nor would we believe a woman who claims to be filled with the Spirit, while embezzling funds from her boss. No more, then, can we believe that a person who habitually gripes, murmurs, and worries about his pressures and problems, rather than “giving thanks always and for everything” is filled with the Spirit.
One thing is indisputable, the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character.
Two kinds of people: the grateful and the ungrateful. It’s the difference between squandering life and sharing life, between being blinded to glory and “To God Be The Glory”, between assured bitterness and “Blessed Assurance.”
We pay an incalculable price for our ingratitude. After decades of ministry to hurting people, I have come to believe that a failure to give thanks is at the heart of much, if not most, of the sense of gloom, despair, and despondency that is so pervasive even among believers today. I believe many of the sins that are plaguing and devastating our society can be traced back to the persistent root of unthankfulness that often goes undetected.
A grateful person is a humble person, while ingratitude reveals a proud heart.
Gratitude is a revealer of the heart, not just a reporter of details. And among the things it reveals about us most is our level of humility.
A humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow.
A grateful heart is God-centered and others-conscious, while an ungrateful person is self-centered and self-conscious.
Grateful people are loving people who seek to bless others, while ungrateful people are bent on gratifying themselves. They tend to focus on “my needs”, “my hurts”, “my feelings”, “my desires”, how I have been treated, neglected, failed, or wounded.” An unthankful person is full of himself, seldom pausing to consider the needs and feelings of others.
A grateful heart is a full heart, while an unthankful heart is an empty one.
The difference between being full and empty is not usually between being rich or poor, at home or away, cupboards bursting at the seams or thinly lined with soup cans and Ramen noodles. The difference is gratitude.
Ungrateful people are much like a container that has a hole in it, leaking out every blessing that’s been poured in, always needing something else, something new to consume for satisfaction fuel.
People with grateful hearts are easily contented, while ungrateful people are subject to bitterness and discontent.
A grateful heart will be revealed and expressed by thankful words, while an unthankful heart will manifest itself in murmuring and complaining.
Thankful people are refreshing, life-giving springs, while unthankful people pull others down with them into the stagnant pools of their selfish, demanding, unhappy ways.
Ingratitude is toxic. It poisons the atmosphere in our homes and workplaces.
When I’m gone, if I’m remembered for anything, I want it to be that I was a grateful man.
The choice before you and me today is: Do we only give glory to God for the part of our lives that is going the way we want? Or do we worship Him, trust Him, give Him thanks, just because He is God—regardless of the dark, painful, incomprehensible places we encounter on our journey?
I have learned along the way that, regardless of how I may feel, anything that makes me need God is (ultimately, in the truest sense) a blessing. Be it disappointment. Be it physical suffering. Be it mental or relational anguish.
Thank-you notes are a tangible way to communicate what is (or should be) in our hearts. A way to express appreciation for the benefits we have received from others—gifts, acts of service, godly example and counsel, prayers, encouragement, etc.