Gratitude is no over-the-counter generic medicine; it is a prescription-strength super narcotic! Living in a consistent state of gratitude is proven to boost physical health, remove emotional toxins that affect psychological health,enhance empathy, reduce aggression, extend sleep cycles, build self-esteem, increase athletic capabilities, and sharpen the brain’s cognitive functions. Scripture says that if we pray WITH thanksgiving we will be filled with peace that passes understanding (Phil. 4:6-7). Give me more of that gratitude drug please!
Gratitude is more than helpful. But me just telling you to be more grateful is not. Because I’ve heard that before, you’ve heard that before. And yet we still find ourselves in our weaker moments depleted, discontent, discouraged, sometimes jealous of others, feeling like we deserve more and frustrated with the circumstances we face. That’s when ingratitude starts robbing us of peace and injecting the damaging toxins back into our minds and hearts, keeping us disconnected from God and people we love.
To get more of the rich payback that comes from gratitude we need a handle on what leads to our ingratitude.
Christians often think it’s pride. There must be a stubborn sense of “I’m better than what I have.” Or maybe it’s entitlement, “I deserve more.” Maybe self-centeredness gets in the way, maybe laziness even. All of these are at play and more, but there is a deeper root to our ingratitude, it’s a root we can change.
If we start to believe we aren’t being looked after by an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, good and compassionate Heavenly Father, then we start to believe lies; what we have and who we become is only up to us. This is why Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, they thought God was holding out on them!
We start to get more jealous of what other people have and assume its because God is unfair. We start to view the difficulties in our lives as punishment from a mean god or allowed by an incapable or distant God.
However, If we can remind ourselves that God is good and loving and just, he owns all, in Him all things were made that have been made and that He holds all things together. We can renew our belief that He loves us and is working out the good for us in all things and He is for us. All we have is because of His provision and if we don’t have, it is either because of our own doing, brokenness and sin in the world, or His determination that it would not be good for us.
If we fixate on the goodness of God, then gratitude flows out of our souls at every single moment. Take a minute today, look ingratitude in the face. Tell him he is based on a lie. He has no right to be here. There is a good Father who provides, who cares, who empathizes, and who is present at all times; even in the darkest valley. Remember the truth that you are the child of the compassionate Father in heaven and ingratitude fades away without trying.
Take a moment and reflect on Psalm 100 with me this Thanksgiving.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.