Are you thankful every day of the year or only when the holiday season arrives? While I believe that most people are genuinely thankful for what they have, sometimes the demands of daily life can cause us to take our blessings for granted.
How would you feel if your family, friends, or children only thanked you once a year for all you’ve done? Most likely, you’d feel hurt and mistreated. Just as we appreciate receiving thanks from those on the receiving end, so the Lord delights in our regular thankfulness towards Him.
Return the Favor
God enjoys blessing us richly, but He also delights when we recognize His great love and blessings. The Bible tells the story of ten lepers in Luke 17:12-19 whom Jesus healed, as they walked by faith. However, only one leper returned to give thanksgiving and praise to God.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19)
Our thanksgiving to God not only shows that we appreciate Him, but that we recognize Him for who He is!
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude takes practice and patience. In order to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving,
1) Recall the love of God: When we recall something, we go back and think about it again. As believers in Christ, we have the awesome privilege of remembering what the Lord has done for us. Have you thought about the price that Christ paid for you on the cross? Where would you be without Jesus? How has your life changed since your salvation experience? We can be thankful because Jesus showed us His great love for us, by sacrificing for us. (Romans 5:8-11)
2) Reflect on our successes: What have you accomplished this year? How has the Lord opened doors and opportunities for you? What goals have you reached through God’s favor?
When we realize that all we’ve accomplished is because of His grace and mercy, we ought to be thankful.
He is the One that continues to guide and direct us along a good path. (Jeremiah 29:11)
3) Revise our attitude: When we revise something, we look it over, and change or add to it, in order to make it better. Does your attitude need to be revised? There are several questions we can ask to determine if revisions are needed. Do you have a thankful heart? Is it based on God, or your circumstances working out the way you want? How do others recognize your thankful spirit? What can you add to your attitude to make it better? By spending time with the Lord in prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide you concerning the things He wants to change in you. (Philippians 4:4)
4) Reach out to others: One of the ways that we can cultivate a heart of thanksgiving is by giving to others. Our giving shows that we belong to God. The more we give, the more the love of God has the ability to flow from our hearts to others. Who can you serve? How can you be a blessing to people around you (family, friends, neighbors, co-workers)? As we’re meeting the needs of others from a pure heart, the Lord promises to also meet our needs. (Isaiah 58:6-10)
5) Retain a thankful spirit: Being thankful can be more than just an attitude of the holidays. We can be thankful all year round. As you remember and reflect on God’s blessings and His sacrifice, don’t lose your joy! Make the choice to be thankful, regardless of the situation or circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
How will you cultivate a heart of thanksgiving today?