Never underestimate the power of appreciation for what you’ve been given. The moment you begin to lose a sense of gratitude, your perspective on life will become distorted and your motives will become entangled in a web of selfishness.
The problem of ingratitude began with our first parents, Adam and Eve. We tend to think Satan tempted them to do something diabolical in the garden of Eden. But when we look at Genesis chapter 3, we see a different scenario. The devil took a subtle approach to introduce sin to the world: he undermined Adam and Eve’s confidence in the character of God by tempting them to be ungrateful for all they’d been given, and he planted seeds of doubt about God’s goodness.
And it worked.
In one conversation, the fate of the world changed. Adam and Eve forgot what God have given them – life and breath, a world filled with mind-blowing beauty, and most important, free access to him in a loving relationship. Instead, they allowed ingratitude to seep into their hearts. They allowed doubt to fuel fear, and selfish desires to choke out a spirit of worship.
Gratitude is a spiritual measuring stick. It’s a sign of a man whose heart is tethered to God and whose perspectives are rightly ordered. Gratitude creates a Philippians 4:8 perspective that looks for the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable, and the excellent. Gratitude fosters a heart that resonates with the heart of Jesus, who deflected glory from himself and directed it to his father.
When you experience a sense of gratitude, it means that you have been thinking about the good stuff in your life, such as your family, friends, health and recent accomplishments. When you feel unappreciative, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are missing something essential. What it does mean is that you recently have been thinking too much about what you don’t have and too little about what you do have.
Appreciating our blessings doesn’t always come easily. Gratitude is not just an attitude; it is also a skill and discipline to be practiced, especially when we don’t feel like it. Gratitude is like a mental gearshift that takes us from discouragement to enthusiasm, from anxiety to inner peace. Joy is not the destination, it’s the path.
The more you appreciate today, the more things you will notice to be grateful for tomorrow. On the flip side, the less appreciative you are today, the fewer blessings you will tend to acknowledge tomorrow. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “He is a wise man who doesn’t grieve for the things which he has not but rejoices for those which he has.”
The power of gratitude it undeniably immense. As you learn to appreciate what you have, praise will become a natural expression of your life. You’ll begin to see God’s hand everywhere. As your gratitude deepens, you’ll find an increasingly urge to express that gratitude in praise. In fact, godly, mature men and women understand that life is a continual cycle of gratitude, repentance and praise.
Godly gratitude will be measured or limited not by what you have, but rather by knowing who you are and who God is. Because this is true, your circumstances can never limit your capacity for gratitude; they can only expand it over the years.
Grow in grace and in the knowledge of your Lord and Savior, and unleash the power of gratitude in your life.
Learn how to practice gratitude and experience the joy God intended for you. The 40 Day Joy Challenge is an online course that produces better habits, stronger relationships, and greater joy in less than 9 minutes a day. Sign up to begin your journey here.
This article was adapted from Tommy Newberry’s book I Call Shotgun. Order your copy today.