“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, New English Translation).
True happiness seems elusive to many people. Part of this may result from their viewpoint on life. If we judge our happiness by what we own or our position in life, we will be disappointed. No matter what we have, it will never be enough. No matter who we know or how high our social status, that indefinable “something” will always be just out of reach. So how do we have a rich, fulfilling life? One step toward happiness is living a life of gratitude.
Can it be as simple as feeling thankful for the things we have in life? It’s certainly an important element. Developing an attitude of gratitude has many positive effects on us—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Relieves Stress.
Modern life is stressful. There always seems to be too little time with too many expectations upon us. Studies show that gratitude counters these negatives we face. If we take time at the beginning of each day to thank God for the peace He offers, our stress levels go down.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, New Living Translation).
- Changes Our Focus.
When we are thankful, our focus shifts. We are no longer consumed with our desires and our circumstances. We open ourselves up to others and feel empathy. Most of all, we open our eyes to God’s blessings our lives. Every good thing comes from Him.
“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow” (James 1:17, NLT).
- Partners with Humility.
Gratitude and humility go hand in hand. Each enhances the other. Humility reminds us we are not operating within our own strength. Whatever we accomplish in life is due to God’s help and the help of others. Gratitude allows us to acknowledge this.
The Bible warns that in the last days many will be proud and unthankful. Second Timothy 3:2 says, “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” (English Standard Version). As a child of God, we demonstrate to an ungrateful world a better way to live. When we live a life of gratitude, we “spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume” (II Corinthians 2:14).
Suggestion for Today:
- Begin the day by thanking God for His blessings.
- Write a note to a loved one expressing thanks for being a part of your life.
- Think about someone who has helped you in a special way and thank them for their time.
- Send a note of appreciation to your pastor or pastor’s wife.
- Verbally thank those who help you in any way throughout the day.
- At the end of your day make a list of good things that happened today.