Dennis Prager, author of the book “Happiness is a Serious Problem” said in his book, “There is a ‘secret to happiness, and it is gratitude. All happy people are grateful, and ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that it is being unhappy that leads people to complain, but it is truer to say that it is complaining that leads to people becoming unhappy. Become grateful and you will become a much happier person.”
This reasoning holds true in Scripture also. From 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Why is it the will of God to be grateful in all things? Because gratefulness leads to Christian maturity.
God asks us even to treat our enemies with an feeling of gratefulness because an attitude of gratefulness helps us overcome the sinful nature we let so easily guide us. The devil works overtime to sew discord into our nature so that we might promote a culture of hatred and vengeance rather than gratefulness and contentment. By being grateful for all that God has given us we make satan’s job much more difficult.
There is an old legend of a man who found the barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart. On finding the seeds of discouragement more numerous than others, he learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere. When questioned, Satan reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive. “And where is that?” asked the man. He replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful person.” (From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, “Remembering the Blessings” 1/19/2009)
And we have so much to be grateful for if we take the time to realize it. Hebrews 12:28 reminds us, Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” You and I have been adopted into the family of God. In belief we are assured that a place has been prepared for us in heaven that is everlasting. Our God cannot be moved, and His mind cannot be changed. His promises always become truth and His love for us cannot be extinguished. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:3-4).
We are also to be grateful for God’s goodness shown through His blessings to us. Deuteronomy 26:11 points this out saying, “And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.” It’s easy sometimes to get lost in the challenges and setbacks of life, but Christian maturity dictates that we take time to rejoice and be grateful for all the goodness that God has shown us. In doing this we will find that the challenges and setbacks are more easily overcome.
“In Him we live and move and have our being’ as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed His offspring’” (Acts 17:28).
Finally, we are to be grateful for God’s endless love. From Jeremiah 31:3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” God’s love is so great that it cannot be comprehended. Though we do much to warrant His everlasting rage, He loves us still with the same love that caused Him to create us. Since the dawn of time, we have remained His precious jewels, His adopted children who will one day inherit His kingdom.
I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:7-9).
Approach your Lord with a heart of gratefulness for all that He has done and don’t let the devil steal your joy. To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for all You have done to show us Your love. Accept our gratitude now and forever. Amen.