A Lifestyle of Gratitude

Thankful

This week we have the joy of celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family.  I am reminded every Thanksgiving of how much I have to be grateful for.  Thanksgiving is  a wonderful time to reflect on God’s blessings to our nation, our churches, and our families. It is a time to celebrate God’s bounty.  

I want that spirit of thankfulness to continue throughout the year.  I want to cultivate a perpetually grateful heart.  To do this, I must abide in Christ (John 15), being dependent on His Holy Spirit and obedient to His commands.  A thankful heart is not natural – it is supernatural!  I know this all too well.  

What is natural?  

  • Complaining  
  • Whining
  • Questioning
  • Doubting  
  • Sulking  
  • Criticizing  

What is supernatural?  

  • Praising  
  • Trusting  
  • Smiling  
  • Loving
  • Encouraging
  • Thanking

I want to be in that second column.  Not just one holiday a year but 365 days a year, no matter what kind of day I’ve had or what difficulties I’m facing.  I can choose to give thanks. This is difficult, because it goes against our natural, sinful nature.  But by the power of the Holy Spirit living in me and through my union with Jesus Christ, I can cultivate a perpetually grateful heart, one choice at a time.  When I do, I experience His unshakeable joy – not because my circumstances have changed but because my heart has changed. 

In her powerful book, Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy Nancy Leigh DeMoss asks this penetrating question:  “Is the gratitude that flows out of your life as abounding as the grace that has flowed into your life?”  Ouch.  That question stung the first time I read it, because the answer was definitely no.  But it has since given me a new frame of reference by which I can gauge the measure of my gratefulness.  And compared to the grace that has flowed into my life through Jesus Christ, I can never be grateful enough!  There is always room for more 🙂  Nancy also says, “Gratitude is a lifestyle.  A hard-fought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle.” (emphasis mine)  And this is a lifestyle I want to live.  This is a lifestyle I need to live.

So this Thanksgiving and Christmas season, let’s be “refreshing, life-giving springs” to those around us (our families, our friends, the cashier at the store, the others waiting in long lines, our co-workers, our bosses, etc.) who are used to being pulled down into the “stagnant pools of other’s selfish, demanding, unhappy ways.”  Let’s show the world the hope that we have because of the supernatural “grace that has flowed into our lives.”  As Christians, let’s be different. Let’s be thankful!

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