Putting Gratitude into Practice
Thirty-eight times. 38!! We are told specifically – 38 TIMES – to “give thanks” throughout the books of the Old & New Testament. “Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done…. give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever… give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign…”
It sure is easy to read, it’s easy to write, but man it is hard to live a life of sincere, consistent, and moment-by-moment joyful gratitude. Complaining, grumbling, and rationalizing everything that’s not going right – that comes a whole lot easier for me.
Scientists are now discovering that what God has been telling us all along is not simply “good advice”. Giving thanks is far more than nice little phrases for our cute little daily bible-verse-calendars with eagles flying on them. There is life-transforming power when we put gratitude into practice. It is now an accepted fact of neurology that the brain cannot be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. Is that amazing or what! All of the fears that you and I carry around – of not being enough and not having enough – cannot withstand the power of a deep gratitude for who God is and what He has done on our behalf.
The secret though for each of us, is that we must put it into practice.
Runners must eventually… run. Big shock right!
I’ve been a consistent runner for the last thirteen years of my life, completing more than forty marathons. But every day I have to wake up, lace up, and take that first painful step and put it into practice.
Experiencing the transforming nature of gratitude is a lot like that.
Tim Keller puts it this way:
It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.
The apostle Paul tells us that the true reprogramming of our minds, our relationships, our families, and our lives comes through living our lives “in view of God’s mercy” (Romans 12:1-12).
So start today. For many of us, it will feel like starting a new workout program. You will feel out of shape and may even feel like you have to force it to come up with one sincere statement. Push through that glass ceiling.
Do whatever it takes.
Buy a new journal.
Open up a new folder on your computer.
Start a new entry on your phone’s notebook app.
Imagine the day where the first thought in your mind when you wake up isn’t “I didn’t get enough sleep” or “I have too much to do today” but a deep appreciation and sincere gratitude for the blessings, opportunities, and even challenges that await you!
Let’s start each day putting gratitude into practice and slowly seeing the world around us transform!