Having a grateful heart is more important than most people think. In today’s world, gratitude gets lost in the “me, my, mine” attitudes that are so prevalent in society. It really is very sad.
But…is it really that hard to be grateful? Honestly, I don’t think so. Let’s dig in to find out...
Webster has several definitions of gratitude. They are:
an emotion of the heart, excited by a favor or benefit received:
a sentiment of kindness or good will towards a benefactor;
the quality of being thankful;
All these definitions are easy to understand and probably realized by most. But what is interesting to me, is the further explanation and use in a sentence that Webster offers:
“Gratitude is an agreeable emotion, consisting in or accompanied with good will to a benefactor, and a disposition to make a suitable return of benefits or services, or when no return can be made, with a desire to see the benefactor prosperous and happy. Gratitude is a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies a feeling and generous heart, and a proper sense of duty.”
Use in a sentence: The love of God is the sublimest gratitude.
I think both are really awesome!
Having a heart of gratitude is a choice….yes, a choice. We choose to be grateful, or not to be grateful. Period.
Let me be clear, I am not simply referring to being grateful that your spouse helped to clean up after dinner or that a friend helped you with a big project in your home. I am going a step further than that. We should be thankful to our Father in Heaven for providing all of the things that we are blessed with every day.
In our hectic lives, being thankful to God for even the smallest of things so often gets lost in the middle of everything. We forget to stop and just say thank you to the God who loves us no matter what. There is so much that we take for granted and we are all guilty of that, especially me...
Did you know that being grateful actually has scientifically proven benefits?
According to Psychology Today, gratitude helps to relax you and actually makes you feel good. It can improve your relationships and make you a kinder person. It increases your optimism and self-esteem. Grateful people are healthier and sleep better, too. I think these are some awesome benefits, right!?!
It is great that gratitude has such awesome scientific benefits, but the spiritual benefits are so much greater than all those scientific ones put together. Having a heart of gratitude for God brings us closer to Him because He lives in the place of our praises (Read Psalm 22:3).
With all that being said, how do we show God that we have a grateful heart?
5 Ways to Show God that We Have A Grateful Heart
Praying plays an important part in showing God our appreciation for everything that He does for us. He waits for us to sincerely express our gratitude for even the smallest of things in our lives.
Everything that we have - from the food we eat to the car we drive and home we live in - is because God has provided it to us. Many of these things that we call necessities or the basics of life we take for granted every day. It is important to remember that God supplies our every need and we must thank Him for that.
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
The fact that we are even given a chance to repent by a loving God is something to be thankful for in itself. Repentance is a powerful way to show God our gratitude. It also cleanses of us of our sins and makes us worthy in God's eyes to receive His blessings.
Jesus said "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32)
God gives us everything and all He wants from us is to obey Him. If we love Him and are grateful for all He does for us, how can we not want to obey Him? Not only that, He knows what is best for us and will provide everything we need, so really, what do we have to lose by obeying Him? Nothing...BUT we have everything to gain. So, obedience is an awesome way to show our heavenly Father that we are grateful for all He does.
Jesus replied "Anyone who loves Me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)
Humble Yourself Before Him
To have a grateful heart, one must be humble. Living with humility is a perfect way to show gratitude to God because it shows Him that we have faith in Him and that no matter what happens, we are acknowledging His authority over all situations. Through humility, we submit ourselves to everything that God places in our lives, the good and the bad.
"Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10)
Be grateful to others
When we are grateful to others who do things for us, we are, in turn, showing gratitude to God. Never forget that many times, God places people in our lives to help us and we should always show gratitude for whatever it is that they do for us.
It is so easy to say thank you or to return a favor or to acknowledge the goodness of others. Also, it can brighten someone's day and yours, too!
"May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this." (2 Samuel 2:6)
When should we show gratitude to God?
Be grateful to God in all things at all times, no matter the situation, good or bad. It is easy to thank God when things are going well; that’s not hard at all. It’s when we are going through trials and rough times that gratitude is hard to muster up; but through these times is when gratitude is most important, especially for spiritual growth.
Falling into the negativity trap through hard times is easy to do. It is during these times when God is waiting to be the strength you need.
If you are unable to thank God for your situation, be thankful for whatever it is that He is teaching you through the situation.
One of my favorite scriptures to serve as a reminder in adverse situations is Romans 8:28:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Show God your gratitude for everything you have and during every season of your life.
If we stop and look around ourselves, we have so much to be grateful for. Start with the little things, like the people who love you, the roof over your head, the food you eat each day and the fact that you have a heavenly Father who looks out for you all day, every day.
I have created scripture cards about gratitude to print and cut out to help remind you of all there is to be grateful for:
Look at all of the blessings that you have...there are so many. God is in every blessing that you have.
Being grateful is a choice. Being grateful is the RIGHT choice. Start making the right choice today.