Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Developing Gratitude

November is here and moving through quickly!  This is the month known as 'a month of gratitude' where we are encouraged to ponder our blessings and be thankful.

Thankfulness is something that must be developed, cultivated. Like godly character, thankfulness isn’t a gift or personality trait that we’re born with. It is a spiritual discipline that must be developed, exercised, and grown in our lives.

Perhaps this is why Scripture instructs us over and over to be thankful, to give thanks always and continually.

When bad things happen to good people, good people have two choices:

  • Allow the negative circumstance to make them bitter, cynical, and angry
  • Allow God to do a work of grace in their hearts so that He can bring good out of the negative circumstance and thus glorify Himself through it.

Imagine what life would be like if we continually responded by allowing God to do a work of grace in our hearts?

This response isn’t natural, but it can be cultivated through discipline and renewing our minds.

There are four ways we can cultivate a thankful heart, so that we live life giving thanks continually.

1. Memorizing and meditating on Scripture
If we want to renew our mind, we must make it a daily discipline to memorize and meditate on Scripture. Scripture memorization and biblical meditation retrains the mind so that it comes into agreement with God’s thoughts.

It replaces the negative thought patterns with God Word, so that in difficult circumstances our thoughts cease to default to negativity, self-doubt, criticism, and cynicism but rather to biblical declarations and principles.

2. Pray the Scripture
Learn to take Scripture, personalize it, and apply it to your present circumstance so that you can see your life through God’s perspective and through the lens of Scripture.

3. Keep a journal
The act of writing is extremely powerful. By slowing down to write our thoughts out by hand, our thinking processes deepen and we are more aware of our emotions.

By slowing down and becoming more mindful of what is in our heart, we would see God’s hand at work in areas of our lives where we have previously been unaware.

By keeping a written record of those things for which we are thankful, we are able to go back and remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord. We see this example all throughout Scripture.

4. Worship
Worship is powerful tool in the arsenal of the believer! True, authentic worship shifts our focus off of ourselves and our circumstances onto God, His greatness, and His sovereignty.

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