In our culture of increasing conflict and complaining, it’s a rare occurrence to hear voices proclaiming the need for an “attitude of gratitude.” However, according to Harvard Health, studies show thankfulness has a strong connection to increased happiness. “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” While we celebrate the fact that some recognize the value of gratitude today, God was telling us long ago just how beneficial thankfulness is. Together, let’s explore a few benefits of gratitude shown in His word.
THANKFULNESS ENDS ANXIETY
If you are consumed with worry about things like health issues, family turmoil, and financial problems, you may find yourself leaning more towards anxiety than thankfulness. What’s the point of showing gratitude when literally nothing is going the way we think it should? Paul is quite clear in his letter to the Philippians that gratitude is the key to exchanging anxiety for God’s peace.
Instead of focusing on the problems before us and driving ourselves to a paralyzing anxiety, we have a better option. We can lay our troubles at the feet of the One who can actually do something about them. When we pray with thanksgiving, we remember His faithfulness to care for us in the past and look forward to how He’s going to meet our needs in the present and future. As a result, we can be filled with peace that makes no sense to a lost world looking in.
THANKFULNESS KEEPS YOU IN GOD'S WILL
Do you ever wonder what God’s will is for your life? Fortunately, you don’t have to search very long to find an important portion of it. Among some final instructions Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians, he tells them that God’s will for their lives includes a short list of great things: rejoicing, prayer, and thanksgiving.
It’s no secret you’ll experience difficult times throughout your life. Jesus himself said that His followers would endure trouble (John 16:33). However, God’s overarching desire for you is still full of good things. However, in some cases, it requires a shift in our mindset. Yes, we may be walking through a difficult season, but what can we choose to rejoice over? Certainly we’re very busy, but where can we be intentional about slipping in some prayer time during our day? There’s undoubtedly much that could be complained about, but what can we thank God for right now? His will is good, and good for us, but we must choose to make it happen.
THANKFULNESS COMPELS US TO WORSHIP
In the popular comic book film “The Avengers,” agent Natasha Romonav (Black Widow) shares a memorable line, saying, “Regimes fall every day. I tend not to weep over that, I’m Russian.” While somewhat comical, her statement reminds us that throughout history, nations rise and fall. No matter what may happen in the future of our own nation, we can have gratitude knowing our citizenship is secure in the kingdom of God.
While earthly nations come and go, the kingdom of God is eternal. Living with an eternal perspective means we know the brokenness we see today in ourselves and the surrounding world are temporary. That assurance that sin and its impacts will one day end should result in thankfulness. As we then begin to outwardly show our gratitude through word, song, obedience and service, that thankfulness quickly and naturally shifts into expressions of worship to a God totally deserving of it.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
How have you seen thankfulness to God change your life? Tell us in the comments below!
While the world recognizes the positive impacts of thankfulness, only the best effects are reserved for those who belong to the Lord. Do you need to start there? If so, find out more here.