For the past several days, I have been hosting a 10 Day Devotional Challenge. (To find all the posts, type “10 Day Devotional Challenge” into my website search bar.) You can read the posts here and comment below to discuss what you’ve read. You may also join the discussion in my Equipped Facebook Group. If you don’t already have a copy of my book, Equipped, you can purchase it at mybook.to/Equipped or ask for it at your local bookstore. For a discount on quantity orders (10 copies or more), please contact me at RuthLSnyder at me dot com.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 15:57
One of the therapists who worked with our family gave us an interesting challenge: record the conversation around your breakfast table. After breakfast is over, listen to the conversation and track how many positive statements were made, and how many negative or critical statements were made. Then compare the numbers. He challenged us to aim for at least two positive statements for every negative one.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (emphasis mine).
Amy Morin, a psychologist and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t do, shares seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitudeClick to tweet
•Gratitude can increase your circle of friends.
•Gratitude helps you feel healthier, with fewer aches and pains.
•Gratitude flushes out “toxic emotions.”
•Gratitude increases sensitivity to others and reduces revengeful thoughts.
•Gratitude helps you sleep better.
•Gratitude increases your self-esteem.
•Gratitude decreases stress and helps you overcome trauma.
If you’re not familiar with Ann Voskamp’s book, 1,000 Gifts, I encourage you to obtain a copy and read how a challenge from Ann’s friend led her on a journey that totally changed the course of her life.
The Bible exhorts us thirty-three times to give thanks and seven times to be thankful. Here is a sample:
•1 Chronicles 16:34 – Give thanks because God is good and his love is forever.
•2 Chronicles 20:21 – Men were appointed to sing to the Lord and praise him as they went ahead of the army!
•2 Chronicles 31:2 – Hezekiah assigned priests to give thanks and sing at the gates of the “LORD’s dwelling.”
•Psalm 7:17 – Give thanks for God’s righteousness and sing.
•Psalm 100:4 – Enter God’s courts with praise and give thanks to Him.
•Colossians 2:7 – We are to overflow with thankfulness.
•Hebrews 12:28 – Thankfulness is part of acceptable worship.
•1 Thessalonians 5:18 – It is God’s will for us to give thanks in all circumstances.
We live in a very negative world, but we can choose to focus on God’s goodness, which never changes.Click to tweet
Kristen Leigh Evensen, a Christian blogger who founded “The Identity Project,” puts it this way:
“Any moment that we allow ingratitude and complaining from our minds and lips, a bitterness takes root in our hearts. The enemy simply adores implanting himself into those bitter roots, watering them with lies and accusations. He causes them to take root even more deeply, and bitterness will eventually bear the bad fruit of unbelief towards the Lord. Give him no opportunity; praise the Lord!” (“3 Reasons to Choose Gratitude,” www.secureandstrong.com)
We all know that character is built one thought and one choice at a time. Let’s choose to allow the Holy Spirit to grow his fruit and character in us by being intentional about giving thanks to God!
Think About It
Do you make it a practice to be thankful? Are there any roots of bitterness you need to allow the Holy Spirit to uproot from your life? Journal your thoughts, or respond in another way that is meaningful to you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for reminding me of the importance of gratitude. Show me if there are any roots of bitterness I need to ask you to uproot. Help me today to be aware of your presence in my life, and help me to be thankful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.