In the United States we set aside one special day to give thanks to God for His blessings, protection, and favor. In fact that’s exactly what President George Washington said in 1789 as he proclaimed Thursday, November 26th of that same year to be such a day. He wrote, “…Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; …” Praise God for a president that recognized the providence of God at work in our nation. Other Presidents have issued similar proclamations through out the years.
Thankfulness – there is power in gratitude
It is great to have a national holiday to give God thanks, but God expects us to have a thankful heart every day. We should continually being giving God our thanks. Hebrews 13:15 says, “let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
There is “power in gratitude” when we keep a thankful spirit. We need to learn how to develop a spiritual habit of giving thanks to tap into that power. We have so many things we can be thankful for. Even when things are difficult if we learn to put things into perspective we can have a grateful heart. As someone wrote,
- If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won’t survive the week.
- If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 20 million people around the world.
- If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.
- If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world.
- If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.
3 Keys That Unlock the Power of Gratitude
When we keep the right perspective we can be thankful in all situations and tap into the power of gratitude. However, we often find it easier to gripe and complain about what we encounter and all the things happening in the world around us. When we do we miss the power and benefits of gratitude in our lives. So, besides keeping the right perspective how we do stay grateful? Here are 3 keys to unlocking the power of gratitude;
1. Choose to be grateful. Gratitude is a choice. You cannot control everything that happens in life but you can control your attitude! It’s been said life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond. How you respond is your choice. If you want to be grumpy, mad, and upset go for it, but if you want to tap into the power of gratitude for your life choose to be thankful and grateful. When confronted with disappointments or challenges how will you respond? You can either choose to be upset or to be grateful. This doesn’t mean we are grateful for the circumstances or situation, but in the middle of it we can have an attitude of gratitude. (1Thessalonians 5:18) We can be thankful that God is with us and that He is helping to turn the bad into something good. Gratitude is a matter of choice. It is an attitude of the heart. Decide to choose to be grateful!
2. Practice being grateful. To develop any skill or to become better at it you need to practice. If I want to learn to play the piano or become a better piano player I must practice. The same is true for developing an attitude of gratitude. This simply means you have to intentionally and deliberately do the things that exhibit gratitude on a regular basis. So, start saying thank you and acting grateful. Again, it’s not a matter of feeling thankful it’s a matter of choice. Practice choosing to be grateful. Start your morning thanking God for the day. Throughout the day look for thinks to be thankful for – the traffic light turning green, for having food to eat, water to drink, air to breath, etc. At the end of the day thank God for helping you throughout the day. When you practice being grateful it soon becomes a habit. Start practicing being grateful today!
3. Focus on the positive. We live in a world and society that has a negative bias. The natural tendency is to become negative. Do you see the glass half full or half empty? It is a matter of perspective. How you see things and how you think about things will have a major influence on your attitude. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he”. It is important to line up our thinking with what God thinks. Think on things that are good, pure, and things that bring peace. (Philippians 4:8) There is a strong pull to get our focus on the bad report and on negative things. If you get your thinking right your focus will be on the positive. It is a key to developing a grateful attitude.
Benefits of Gratitude
The power of gratitude brings with it an endless list of benefits. According to Psalm 100:4 it is the key to entering into His presence! It says, “enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his Courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name”. Not only does thanksgiving usher us into the presence of God it also produces better health, relationships, careers, mental and emotional well being. In fact even scientific research say people who are grateful have stronger and healthier relationships, they sleep better, their physical health improves, and they are more likely to perform better on the job. You could put it this way “Successful and happy people are grateful people.”
Maybe that why the Psalmist said, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:” Psalm 92:1
Lets choose to always be grateful and tap into the power of gratitude and begin reaping all of its benefits! When you think about it, regardless of what is happening there is a lot to be thankful for. I am extremely grateful for each of you, for my family, for God’s grace, mercy, and goodness in my life and so much more. Praying for each and everyone to have a super Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! There is power in gratitude!