Expressing Your Attitude of Gratitude (II Thessalonians 2:13)
Once again Paul writes the believers at Thessalonica, expressing his thanks for them, but he also wrote that they were beloved of God. That in itself should bear encouragement. Being thankful is not optional or something for extra credit, but it is mandatory. We owe it to God. When we thank God, we give credit to Him. That honors and praises God.
Thankfulness is the attitude that perfectly displaces our sinful tendency to complain and, in so doing, releases joy and blessing into our lives. Thankfulness is the ideal replacement for complaining.
Sometimes we think that we are thankful people, but too often we neglect to express our gratitude. II Thessalonians 2:13, “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Often this is the result of failure to appreciate what we have.
Gratitude is a Vital Virtue
Here are two reasons gratitude is a vital virtue for spiritual development:
1. God requires our thanksgiving.
The most important reason we express gratitude is because God requires we offer Him our thanks. God takes our gratitude, or lack thereof, extremely seriously. We are always required to give God what He is due, including our thankfulness. Everyone can make the decision to give thanks and acknowledge the goodness of God
2. Gratitude keeps our focus on God (and off ourselves).
When we develop a habit of gratitude we are constantly asking two questions: “For what should I be grateful?” and “To whom do I owe thanks?” The more we express our gratitude the more our eyes are opened to the benevolence of God and His generosity in bestowing us with goodness and blessings. When we see how much we owe to God it helps to reduce our own self-centeredness.
When we ponder on all the good things we have because of God’s grace and rejoice in the Lord our hearts will erupt with gratitude. Gratitude heals our hearts. It displaces lethal complaining. It opens our eyes to the innumerable graces of God in our everyday lives. In our hurry through life, we neglect gratitude. Rather than rushing off to the next thing, spend some time thanking Jesus for specific gifts in your life. Make a gratitude list.
Prayer, Heavenly Father, please forgive my shallow, immature, faith-choking ingratitude. You shower me with Your blessings, yet how rarely I stop to truly thank You. Thank You for all that You have done for me. Please replace my complaints with thanks. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.