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4 Things About Gratitude That Will Change Your Life

iStock_000018159844XSmall“Let’s go around the table and everyone share one thing that we are thankful for!” Is this dumb Thanksgiving game the extent of your thankfulness on Thanksgiving? Or maybe it’s the one time a year you are actively giving thanks?

Thankfulness runs so much deeper than this.  God has a lot to say about it.

1) God has a protocol for how he wants to be approached

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4).

He tells us, “When you enter my presence, the first thing I want to hear is ‘thank you.’ Don’t ask me for anything until you have thanked me for everything!” (of course this is my version of God speaking)

We’ve all grown up with the phrase “Please and thank you.” But God wrecks our theology and says, “No, it’s THANK YOU, and then please!”

2) Gratitude is never invisible or silent

From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

When you’re grateful, you’ll say it! I hate reading tweets and facebook posts from people who are just tired of the world, how they are just having a horrible day, or how nothing is going right for them.

I once heard a pastor say, “From the overflow of the heart, the mouth TWEETS.” (That’ll preach!) People who are truly thankful, express it. People like to say, “Well I’m thankful, I just don’t say it. But you know my heart.” NO WE DON’T!  We aren’t freakin fortune tellers.

If you’re really grateful, it’ll show in your life.  We have to stop assuming that people know we’re thankful for them and tell them.  “Go and tell yo kids, tell yo wives, tell yo husbands, cus we thankin er’ybody out here” -Antoine Dodson  (You’re welcome for that)

3) Sustain a blessing by being grateful

I believe, the same way that we live an offence over and over again through bitterness and forgiveness, is the same way that we can live a blessing over and over again through gratefulness.

4) Gratitude begins where our sense of entitlement ends

There’s a reason we don’t write thank you letters to the IRS every year for our tax returns. You can’t be thankful for something you think you’re entitled to. Once when I got a new job, I found out about the benefits package. The job came with 2 weeks vacation, 401k, health insurance, and plenty more. I was so excited; I had never had a benefits package before.

I was telling my brother about the awesome benefits package and he begins to tell me that almost all jobs give benefits packages. It’s a pretty normal thing. I was like, “Yea, I know, dumb job…sucks.”  Just like that, something that seemed like such a blessing became part of a package I deserved.

When did we start thinking that we were entitled to stuff?  Church volunteers, just because you aren’t getting paid, you get fed up sometimes with things?  Did you know that it’s a blessing to even know God? Even more, to be used by him?

God doesn’t need me, or you, or Kanye. He is self sustaining. We need grasp and spread this spirit of gratitude. That’s when people will start “getting to,” and stop “gotting to.”

There is something about getting paid in cash than over a direct deposit. When we hold that cash money in our hands, it’s party time. However, when we get paid in direct deposit, it’s just another day. We don’t get the feeling of really receiving something. Even though we received the exact same amount of money with both.

Every single day of our lives, we receive a direct deposit of God’s mercy and grace. He is continuously giving us a second, third, forth, etc. chance to meet with him. Don’t ever start to see life as part of the perks of just being alive. We don’t deserve to be here.

If he doesn’t breathe out, we don’t breathe in. We have to break off the entitlement mentality.

In conclusion, let’s stop being people who are always down and bummed out.  Christians, more than anyone else, have tons to be thankful for.

I once heard a pastor say, “If you let me live I’m going to tell more people about Christ, if you torture me I’m going to get more reward from Christ, if you kill me I’m going to be with Christ.” This is the heart of a grateful person who finds good in all things.  Happy Thanksgiving!

How do you keep yourself grateful?

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