Gratitude

It sounds so simple: Be grateful.

We don’t need any special skills or powers to express gratitude. I’ve been meditating quite a bit on the word gratitude for a while now. There’s just something about the word that makes life more enjoyable. Maybe that’s why I used to listen to the Grateful Dead so much…

I recently stumbled upon two excellent quotes regarding gratitude:

Gratitude is an antidote to irritability.

It’s tough to be angry for extended periods of time when you have genuine gratitude for life. Even if things aren’t going your way, surely you can find something for which to be grateful. Personally, when I’m struggling, I’ll focus on so-called “little victories.” Something that may seem insignificant to you could be a reason for me to be thankful. And this is the case for all of us. If you don’t do this already, perhaps it’s a good idea to write a gratitude list. Sure, we can think of reasons to be grateful, but it is so much more powerful when we see the words written down.

Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.

It is critical that we remember what God has done for us in the past. Often we see God only in our rear-view mirror, but that’s still better than not seeing Him at all. Take a good look at Ephesians 2:1-10 – read it twice if you have to -  and I assure you gratitude will find its way into your life. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (vv. 8-10). Do you see that? You’ve done nothing to be saved – nothing! It was the blood of Christ that saved us. How can you not be grateful for that act? That fact alone exceeds any temporal problem you may be encountering.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t tackle the sins and issues in our lives. We must, for they will ensnare us without warning. But our perspective is as important as, if not more important than, anything else. I can’t stress this enough.

I lived many years without faith. Without hope. Without love. Then I gave my life to Christ, and a funny thing happened. Did life get better? No. Life didn’t change one bit. But I did. And the catalyst for this re-birth was gratitude.

Jesus Christ died for our sins. He didn’t die because he deserved it. He died because we do, taking our place at Calvary. If we can’t be grateful for that, then heaven help us.

In His Name,

-Matt

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