Main Verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5 NIV
There is power in gratitude. I often thought gratitude was just about being thankful and remembering to say thanks. And yes, a simple thank you and a kind act of appreciation are ways of showing thankfulness, but there is more to gratitude than thankfulness.
Thankfulness is an adjective defined as being pleased or relieved. It is the expression of gratitude.
Gratitude is a noun defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Therefore, thankfulness is a sign of gratitude and gratitude is a state of mind. It is a readiness to show appreciation. It is a posture or attitude that you can approach life with, regardless of your circumstances.
According to Psychology Today, “Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for instance, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants or thinks they need. Tossing off the half-hearted "thanks" won't cut it; deep gratitude has to come from within and in a meaningful way.”
The article continues, “Practicing gratitude means paying attention to what we are thankful for to the degree of feeling more kind and compassionate toward the world at large. It can motivate people to make positive changes in their lives. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude by literally counting their blessings and writing letters of thanks, for example. This proactive acknowledgement can increase well-being, health, and happiness. Being grateful—and especially the expression of it—is also associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.”
For followers of Christ, gratitude is a key differentiator from the world around us. God has set us apart SO THAT we can be a light in a world full of darkness...in a world full of dark states of mind.
Scripture reiterates this time and time again:
- “They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power, To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glorious majesty of Your kingdom.” PSALMS 145:11-12 AMP
- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 NIV
- “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1 NIV
These are just a few examples. Want to find more? Do a search on gratitude and thankfulness in your Bible app.
Often times, we need to vent our frustrations and irritations, but let me warn you, continuing to vent about the same thing isn’t venting, it’s complaining. I know this all too well because this is something God has convicted me of many times.
So what if your life seems like there’s nothing to be thankful for? What if you are constantly hitting hardship after hardship? Let me challenge you with another question that challenged me years ago, what is your focus on?
Paul tell us: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9 NIV
Rejoicing in the Lord doesn’t mean your denying your circumstances nor does it mean your putting on a fake face. It means your focus is more on the God who is bigger than your circumstances and not on the circumstances themselves.
I challenge you to dig deeper on this matter. Take time (however long you need) and read Exodus 1 through 17 as well as Numbers 13 and 14. Seek the attitude of the Is