Something happened a day or so ago. People were different. My wife and I went out for a walk and instead of neighbors not even acknowledging your presence, they actually stopped, said hi, shared a few things they were thankful for, and gave us a Thanksgiving greeting. We were also inclined to not just smile back but engage in conversation and join in on the list items which we appreciated. Thankfulness does something within us, it brings out a pushed down joy, brightens life, and causes a smile to appear.
According to Neil Burton in a Psychology Today article, The Psychology of Gratitude (posted September 23, 2014), having gratitude “… opens our eyes to the miracle that is life, something to marvel at, revel in, and celebrate, rather than ignore or take for granted as it flies us by. It encourages and heightens life-enhancing states such as joy, tranquility, consciousness, enthusiasm, and empathy inhibiting painful emotions such as anxiety, heartbreak ,loneliness, regret, and envy, with which it is fundamentally incompatible.”
Burton started the article with a quote from the famous author, poet, philosopher, and lay theologian G.K. Chesterton, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Expressing gratitude yanks our thinking away from entitlement and the prevalent ‘me’ thinking, consumer culture of the day that believes we deserve all we want. This self-centered attitude only leads to frustration, alienation, anger, and sadness. Yet, the power of the attitude of gratitude shapes our worldview by taking us out of the center and gives us a proper human perspective that we are not divine. Burton goes on to say, “Studies have linked gratitude with increased satisfaction, motivation, and energy; better sleep and health; and reduced stress and sadness.”
The Bible has always challenged us to wield this power of the attitude of gratitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
It is to be grateful and acknowledge God for His bountiful blessings.
Psalm 100:3-5 3 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. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! 5 For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
To have that powerful, life-changing attitude of gratitude is to shift our thinking away from entitlement and onto that humble attitude, one of service and submission to God… that He is central and life aligned His way where purpose and perspective is found. That may be a tough stretch for some, but it might be just what you are looking for. Why not consider Him? It will change your life. Others of you already hold God as the highest affection of life. That is wonderful and continue to be grateful for all He has done and continues to do, for brandishing this power of the attitude of gratitude will bring great joy on this journey of life.
To help us foster this powerful attitude of thankfulness church can be very helpful. If you are not already connected to a church, please feel invited to ours. Our website has information about our various campuses. We would love to connect with you, especially during this Christmas season. Just check out our website for more information, www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to apply the attitude of gratitude with you,