How to Become Grateful in a Week
GRUMPY? Gratitude is learning to recognize and express appreciation for the benefits we have received from God and from others.
Be on the lookout for blessings, making each day a treasure hunt. Be intentional about thanking God and others for the blessings that come your way.
Overall, how would you rate your “Gratitude Quotient”?
• I look at the world through grateful eyes and consistently express my gratitude to God and others.
• I know I’ve been greatly blessed, but I don’t often stop to actually express my gratitude to God and others.
• To be honest, I had not thought a lot about gratitude until starting this challenge. I’ve got a long way to go to develop a lifestyle of gratitude.
• I’m a whiner! I tend to focus on my problems and I frequently express them to others.
Ask the Lord to cultivate in you a more grateful heart over these next thirty days. If you have realized that your “Gratitude Quotient” is not what it should be, confess your ungrateful spirit to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you and to transform you into a truly thankful person.
READ Colossians 1:3, 12; 2:7; 3:15-17; 4:2
The central theme of Colossians is Christ. He is exalted and worshiped for His divine nature, being the Creator and Sustainer of all things, His preeminence over all creation and over all cosmic rulers and powers, His redemptive, reconciling work on the cross, defeating the powers of darkness, being the Head of the church which is His body, being the fulfillment and substance of Old Testament types and figures, being the believer’s life and our hope of glory, and so much more!
As those who have “died” with Christ, “been buried with him in baptism,” and “raised with him through faith,” our joy and hope do not emanate from any earthly source or from our religious practices, but from Him. Within the four chapters of this short epistle, Paul calls us to be: sexually pure, compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, loving, peaceful, obedient, just, wise, gracious, and thankful!
Read through one or more of the following passages from Colossians, meditating on them, praying them back to God, and using them as a basis for giving thanks to Him:
READ Psalm 107:1–32
The theme of Psalm 107 (stated in the first two verses) is followed by four “personal testimonies”—illustrations of those who have been redeemed by the Lord and have reason to give Him thanks. Each testimony includes a similar progression: distress—the straits people found themselves in; a desperate cry to the Lord for help; and Divine deliverance. The passage is punctuated by a response—a “thanksgiving chorus” that is repeated at the end of each testimony.
Today, write out your personal testimony of God’s saving grace, following the progression found in Psalm 107.
• What was your life like before He redeemed you?
• How did God bring you to the end of yourself, to the place where you cried out to Him for mercy?
• What has changed since He delivered you from your slavery to sin?
If you have additional time, write another brief testimony of a time subsequent to your initial salvation, when you were in distress, you cried out to the Lord, and He came to your rescue.
Then share your story (His story) with someone else today. Tell them how grateful you are to the Lord for saving you—eternally, as well as daily.
READ Psalm 103:1–5
As we recognize and identify the specific blessings we have received from God and from others, we discover countless reasons for expressing gratitude. The psalmist took time to bless the Lord for specific benefits—he didn’t want to forget even one of them! As you open your heart to Him in prayer today, ask God to reveal to you just how great your “benefits package” really is.
Make two lists under these headings: “Gifts from God” and “Gifts from Others.” Then put down everything that comes to mind. Don’t try forcing this into a one-time, ten-minute exercise—stop and start as it seems natural. Keep adding to these lists as additional gifts come to mind every day.
After you’ve written out a list of your blessings, take some time to walk through your list line by line, thanking God for each of these “benefits.” Then, read Psalm 103 aloud. Try memorizing and meditating on at least the first five verses over the next week or so.
READ Ephesians 5:15–21
I hope you’re becoming more alert to the many reasons you have to be grateful. I remember hearing a friend tell how, while brushing his teeth and meditating on one of the verses in today’s reading (Ephesians 5:20), he was struck by the word “everything.” He was reminded of the importance of thanking God for even those “little things” that we often overlook. It made him pause and be thankful for, well … his toothbrush. And his toothpaste. And, while he was at it, he thanked God for his teeth, for probably the first time in his life.
This may require another separate list from the ones you made yesterday, but it’s definitely a category worth considering. Since everything is a gift from God (James 1:17), “everything” is something to be thankful for. My friend told me he also asked himself: “If tomorrow’s supply depended on today’s thanksgiving, how much would I have tomorrow?”
What “little things” can you add to the gratitude lists you’ve started? Some of the items on your “everything” list will make you realize you’ve taken certain people in your life for granted. Say thank you today in some way.
READ Romans 11:33–36
Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia International University, tells of a time when, following his wife’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s and the death of his eldest son, he retreated alone to a mountain hideaway, trying to reorient his heart and recapture a love for God that had slowly evaporated in the heat of personal, tragic loss.
After a day devoted to prayer and fasting, he began writing God a love letter, enumerating the gifts he had received from the Lord’s hand. He identified ten particular blessings from God that just absolutely exceeded his imagination, things he could hardly find words to express how invaluable they were, how impossible life would be without them.
I encourage you to flip back through the lists you’ve been making and choose a top ten— spiritual blessings that are so big, you could never generate enough gratitude to express what they mean to you and what they tell you about your Savior.
The next time your mind is troubled by sad or worrisome thoughts, pull out your top ten and consciously transfer your focus from whatever is weighing you down, and start giving thanks for the things on your list.
READ Luke 17:11–15
As you read today’s passage, notice some things about the leper who returned to thank Jesus. First, he came loudly. He couldn’t contain his gratitude. This occasion called for an unrestrained, extreme, public display of thanks.
Second, he came close. The ten lepers “stood at a distance” (v. 12) from Jesus—lepers were ceremonially defiled and weren’t allowed to come close to those who were “clean.” The healed leper who “fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks” (v. 16) was the only one of the ten who ever got close to Jesus. Gratitude places us in close proximity to Christ, where we experience the fullness of His redeeming power and enjoy the blessing of His presence.
Third, he came from a distance. “He was a Samaritan” (v. 16). This man had never known the true God until Jesus came into his world and transformed his life. After being separated from Jesus by a religious, cultural, and physical gulf, he loved what he saw in Jesus. Gratitude will draw you close to Jesus.
Look for an opportunity today to thank the Lord for what He has done in your life—aloud, and in the presence of others.
TAKEN FROM 30 Days of Gratitude
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