Gratitude is more than just a feeling of blessedness; it is our spiritual condition that comes from the full awareness of our status as God’s adopted sons and daughters. Developing a heart of gratitude is one of the keys to a healthy Christian life.
Gratefully, we are able to understand who God is. He is our Abba Father, who loves us and desires to walk with us in intimate fellowship. He is our triune God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who gives us abundant life and the promise of eternity with Him.
Gratefully, we recognize what God has done for us. He is our Savior and Redeemer. We know that Jesus Christ gave His life for our salvation, yet we get sidetracked and caught up in the affairs of this world. These affairs can create fear or anxiety which stand in the way of living with a grateful heart. We need to remember the promises of this verse:
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe
We are receiving a “kingdom that cannot be shaken!” Our government, economy, culture, and our health can all be shaken but, thankfully, God’s Kingdom cannot.
Gratefully, we can live with joy through all the highs and lows of life.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This passage gives us three specific commands for how to live with a spirit of thankfulness – even when our circumstances are not what we desire.
“Rejoice always” – We are encouraged to rejoice always because joy is a permanent condition that originates from our salvation. Joy is not based on good days or bad days, but on our eternal destiny. Joy never leaves us.
“Pray continuously” – Our communication with God should be continuous – an unending conversation. He loves to hear from us at any time and we should always feel comfortable coming to Him in prayer. Our prayers will not always be answered in the way or timing that we expect, but He always provides an answer. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
“Give thanks in all circumstances” – Notice that the verse doesn’t say to give thanks “for” all circumstances but “in” all circumstances. This one word makes quite a difference! We may not be thankful for certain circumstances in our lives, but during them, we are called to be grateful. We are certainly free to work to try to change our circumstances, but we are called to always give thanks as we endure. The peace that God offers will ultimately change us.
Thank God today for your citizenship in His “unshakable Kingdom” and go live in such a way that someone else will want to know why you have such a grateful heart.