In a world where the storms of life can often feel all consuming, we must remember that we do not naturally gravitate toward goodness, gratitude, and grace. It’s easy to let our emotions and circumstances get the best of us, and let them control how we see the world. However, God’s Word teaches us that gratitude is not about sticking our heads in the sand or pretending that life is always easy; instead, it’s a way to orient our minds to the goodness of God in the midst of every emotion and circumstance.
Gratitude as a Daily Practice
Practicing gratitude is not a one-time event, but a daily practice that can transform our lives.
- It’s a conscious choice to focus on God’s presence and His work in and through us.
- It’s practicing what we want to become “good” at, because God designed our brains and bodies to be strengthened through repetition.
When we make gratitude a part of our daily routine, it becomes a powerful tool to shift our perspective and renew our minds when our circumstances threaten to overtake us.
In Philippians 4:8 (NIV), the apostle Paul encourages us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. This kind of thinking doesn’t deny the existence of suffering or hardship, but rather chooses to see the goodness of God even in the midst of adversity.
Gratitude as a Reminder of God’s Goodness
Gratitude is not a cure-all, nor is it a vehicle to bypass healthy emotions like grief, anger, or fear. It is, however, a step toward noticing the goodness of God amid life’s best and hardest circumstances. As we practice gratitude, we learn to acknowledge the full range of our emotions while simultaneously recognizing the steadfast presence of God.
In Psalm 23:4 (NIV), David beautifully illustrates this concept, saying, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Gratitude invites us to hold our feelings and experiences in the context of faith and hope, finding strength in God’s presence, even amidst the valley of the shadow of death.
Gratitude as a Thank Offering
In Scripture, we are encouraged to offer gratitude to God as a thank offering. This means that gratitude is not just a mere sentiment; it’s an intentional act of worship.
Psalm 50:14 (NIV) reminds us to “sacrifice thank offerings to God.” Our thank offering not only honors God, but it also provides sustenance, strength, and nourishment to our very souls. It is God’s best for us and our brains.
When we offer gratitude as a thank offering, we reorient our hearts toward God’s goodness and grace, and in doing so, we invite His presence to fill our lives with His peace and joy.
Gratitude in Action
Gratitude in action involves acknowledging and expressing thankfulness for the way we see God at work each day. It’s about recognizing the goodness of God not only in the extraordinary moments but also in the mundane and even in the challenging times. The rising of the sun, the rain that nourishes the earth and sustains life, breath in our lungs, warm coffee, a few quiet moments, the grocer’s smile, or in your co-workers greeting…
Choosing to verbally give thanks awakens the soul to see Father, Son, and Spirit, enjoying their creation and pouring out their love and mercy.
So, let us practice gratitude daily, for it is an act of worship, a source of strength, and a reminder that even in the darkest valleys, God’s goodness shines through.
Gratitude is a lifestyle that leads us to a place of deep faith and unwavering hope.
Question: How has the discipline of practicing gratitude impacted your life, your frame of mind, and/or your ministry?
About Amber Cullum
Amber Cullum is a fearlessly authentic podcaster, homeschool mom and speaker who shares relatable humor, through her own life stories, to lead women into the hard truths of faith, embraced by God’s grace. Grace Enough has been featured in Christianity Today as 1 of 12 Podcasts You Don’t Want To Miss. Find her 21 Days of Gratitude on Grace Enough podcast and a free 4 week gratitude practice at www.graceenoughpodcast.com/freegratitudepractice. Connect on social media with Amber at https://www.graceenoughpodcast.com/.