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Gratitude Is More Than an Attitude

 

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

One of the most vital keys to embracing and celebrating your identity in Christ is learning to live from a place of gratitude. Most believers know this, but many are not able to sustain this posture regularly.

The process of cultivating gratitude as a lifestyle is very similar to successfully cultivating any other lifestyle choice, like exercise, eating healthy, or financial responsibility:

  1. You have to intentionally choose it.
  2. You have to do it often enough for it to first become a habit, then become second nature—just a part of who you are and what you do.
  3. You will come up against situations (or people!) that will present resistance or obstacles to your goal. You will be seduced by laziness and old habits. How will you respond? You must push through those and keep at it!
  4. You must believe the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, and that it is worth your effort.
  5. You have to choose to adopt it as part of your identity.

Let’s look at that last element—adopting gratitude as part of your identity. People do this kind of thing all the time, unknowingly, with other lifestyle choices they are passionate about. Think of the t-shirts, Facebook posts, bumper stickers, and the like that people use to ‘advertise’ how this lifestyle has become who they are.

Not only that, but often they surround themselves with other like-minded enthusiasts for community and support. Not that we need to ‘advertise’ our gratitude, per se, but shouldn’t we be known and recognized by it in the same way?

Shouldn’t we also be in community with people who exude thankfulness, and become an encouraging voice ourselves?

This is part of what it means to be a light in the darkness, a city on a hill, the salt of the earth. Gratitude shapes us and it shapes the world around us; it offers a higher and truer perspective to difficulty and pain.

It orients our hearts and our spirits in the right direction, the direction home—the kingdom of God, to which we belong, and to which we are called to lead others.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Oh God, we often forget what we are thankful for just moments after thanking You! Please forgive us for not remembering Your goodness towards us, Your faithfulness, and Your mercy. Help us cultivate a heart of gratitude and consistently live from that place. Let others be drawn to You by our lifestyle of gratitude. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

©2017 by Michelle Wuesthoff. All rights reserved.

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