“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1-3
A year ago, my wife and I decided to plant a garden. We tilled the soil, repaired the critter fence, planted seeds, and then waited.
From the time we began to plant until the day we ate the first tomato was around 3 months.
Apparently, this is called cultivation – it’s the act of preparing, promoting, developing, or promoting the growth of someone or something. “And it takes time. And intentionality. And effort. That’s true if you’re cultivating tomato plants, but it’s also true if you want to cultivate a characteristic in your life.
Like gratitude, for example.
Do we have to just sit around and wait to feel grateful, or can we actually actively cultivate our sense of gratitude this season?
Here are three active steps to do just that:
1. Remember what you deserve.
It strikes me that the moments when I am the most ungrateful are also the moments in which I feel the most entitled. That I deserve something better than the situation or circumstance in which I currently find myself. But what am I actually entitled to? Hell. Separation. Condemnation. Eternal punishment. This is what I truly deserve. If I want to cultivate gratitude in my life, then a healthy dose of remembering what I deserve should go a long way.
2. Remember what you have.
Many times my lack of gratitude stems from comparison. I compare the bank account, physical stature, intelligence, or influence of another. And then I am robbed of gratitude. Realizing this, it’s in those moments that I can reflect back on what I truly have. And what do I have?
A beautiful wife? Wonderful children? A church that I love and loves me?
Yes to all the above. But over and above that, I have every spiritual blessing in the heavens (Ephesians. 1:3). Every. Single. One. In Christ, God has held nothing back from me. By the virtue of His sacrifice on the cross, I am a co-heir with Jesus, and my inheritance in Him has already been secured. This is what I have. Right now.
3. Remember what was paid.
If you are a Christian, a great and terrible price has been paid. We were not brought out of darkness and into the light and rescued from our empty way of life by silver or gold; no – it was by something much more valuable. The precious blood of Jesus was shed on our behalf (1 Peter 1:18-21). Jesus was given for our sake; only a price this high could atone for our sin.
The cross of Jesus is like water to the parched ground of our ungrateful hearts. We pour it on and as we fix our eyes on Him, we can watch gratitude start to sprout up. Slowly, but steadily, by God’s grace, we can cultivate hearts that are no longer entitled, no longer covetous, but thankful and burning white-hot for the glory of the Lamb that was slain.
Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor
To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress.http://michaelkelley.co/