“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
Gratitude is a choice. It is a mindset and a mentality that is fueled by our perspective. Gratitude is an attitude of the heart. We have a saying in our family that goes like this: “You choose your attitude.” You cannot control many things in life, but you can control your attitude!
Are you living with a mindset of gratitude? Are you rejoicing in all things? Did you know it is God’s will that you learn what it means to give thanks in all things and live with a heart of gratitude? So, how do you know if you are living in gratitude? Here are some thoughts that might help you:
- Do you see the power of God at work in the trials of life, or do you only see the challenges and trials?
God does some of His greatest work in our lives when we realize our need for Him. His power is most clearly on display when we trust Him with the things we can’t control. Are you focusing on the difficulties of life or do you consider it all joy, because you know God is at work?
Please understand – this is not about a superficial smile, attempting to make it look like everything is okay. This is about the supernatural power of God working in our lives to show us more of His love and grace in ways that we never would have seen without the struggle. God uses the pain to draw us deeper into His love and grace … if we will trust Him. Let the struggle drive you to the truth!
- Are you thankful for the blessings in your life, or are you bitter about the things that you don’t have?
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to miss out on the blessings in life because you are so focused on what you don’t have? Are you grateful for the things God has provided? It does not matter who you are or what your situation – every single one of us has reasons to be thankful. It is a choice. Will you choose to be grateful for what you have, or will you choose to allow the things you don’t have rob you of your joy?
- Are you living a generous life, or are you trying to hold on to all you have?
The blessings of God have been given to you to be a blessing to others! God invites us into the process of blessing others because He knows that generosity provides us with some of the greatest joy we can find! A grateful heart chooses to give and live generously! If you trust that all you have has been given to you by God, you will live with open hands.
- Are you more focused on what you have to do than what Jesus has already done for you?
I don’t know about you, but there is a moment each morning in our house when it seems like an explosion has just gone off! There are 45 minutes of sheer chaos and panic as the household wakes up and we rush to get the kids off to school! Can you relate? Everybody is running around like crazy. There is no order. No balance. Total anarchy! It is easy to start the day in a flurry of activity and be in the midst of noise from sun up to sundown.
I have found that if I am up before the explosion I have a much better chance of hearing the promptings of the Spirit throughout the day. I have a much better chance of seeing those things for which I should be grateful. Are you stopping to listen? Is there a time in your day when you are intentionally disconnected – a moment set aside where there are no devices within your reach and no “to-do” list to distract you? Do you go to God’s Word to be reminded of the Good News of the Gospel? Or are you running all day at a frantic pace trying to get everything done while quenching the Holy Spirit and forgetting to be grateful?
God is still on His throne. What appears to be a huge trial just might become the greatest masterpiece of God working in your life! Are you willing to focus on who He is and what He has done for you? If you are, then you will discover how to be grateful.
Adapted from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.