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Saturday, December 2, 2023

How to Fill Up on Gratitude

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

When I’m going through a season of great change and stress, how can I maintain joy?

What I’m learning is that I do it by developing the habit of thanking God for all that’s good, despite all that’s bad.

This principle is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). This means that I should develop an attitude of gratitude in every situation. It doesn’t mean that I have to be thankful for everything that happens to me, especially the bad things like cancer or car accidents. I don’t have to be thankful for all the evil in the world.

But every time I take a minute to express gratitude to God about anything—it could be my favorite music, nature spot, or Scripture—it helps refill my empty emotional tank so I can move forward in life. Choosing to be thankful is for my own good; it keeps me from getting bitter and helps me make it to the finish line.

Being grateful is easy when my emotional tank is full and things are going great in life. It’s much harder to find something to be thankful for when I’m facing a crisis or prolonged chronic stress. But that’s when I need to express gratitude the most.

The story of Job is a great example of gratitude during hard times. He was a wealthy and successful man, but he lost everything in a single day. He didn’t know why everything happened to him, and he had every reason to be angry and bitter. Despite this, he gratefully worshipped God. Even in his darkest moment, he fell to the ground and worshipped God, saying, “May the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21 NIV).

One of the most practical yet powerful habits I can develop is to make a daily gratitude list. Just sit down for five minutes each day and ask myself, “What am I grateful for?” It’s a habit that will strengthen my soul and keep me going when I feel like giving up.

Even in my darkest moments, we can follow Job’s example and gratefully worship God, knowing that his will for us is to give thanks in all circumstances.

In summary, my joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with my circumstances or feelings. Learning to obey three commands; to be joyful, never stop praying, and to be thankful, often go against my natural inclinations. However, when I make a conscious decision to do what God says, I will begin to see people and things in a new perspective. Doing God's will makes it easier to be joyful and thankful.