It’s THANKS-LIVING at Joy99 and Joy Worship!
As Christians, we know God calls us to be thankful throughout the narrative of scripture. We know God’s guidelines are always for our good and our benefit. But have you ever wondered why? Why does God want us to be grateful? How might a grateful heart be beneficial for us?
Statistically, people who are grateful are healthier overall. Research shows that they are:
- Are less sick
- Have more stamina
- Less prone to fatigue
- Increased energy
- Exercise More
- Better mental clarity
- More relaxed
- Less envious
- Have happier memories
- More social
- Have happier marriages
- Have deeper and more friendships
- Are better managers
- Increased productivity
- Improved decision making
- More likely to reach goals
- Less self centered
- More optimistic
- More spiritual
- Less materialistic
- Increased self esteem
For the Christ Follower, there are many benefits of cultivating a grateful heart. First, Gratitude frees us from sin.
Paul writes: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).
Think about it, if you are consciously in a state of gratitude, you more than likely will not be sinning at the same time. Paul states it simply, that we are either acting with sinful, thankless hearts which leads to foolish talk or crude jokes, or we act with grateful hearts and thereby please God with our speech.
For example, if you say, “thank you, God, for my family.” You’re probably not going to be treating your family poorly. But, if you are grumbling and complaining, you have provided laid a foundation for discontentment and strife, which opens the door to sin.
Next, Gratitude frees us from anxiety. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Being thankful in the present prevents us from worrying about the future.
Anxiety is fear of the unknown. An anxious heart strives for certainty in the future. Being grateful here and now, releases us from the need for sureness in the future. When you are tempted to worry about the future, look to the past and the present to see God’s provision in your life and his faithfulness.
Gratitude involves wanting what one has rather than having what one wants. Instilling a sense of gratitude may help people appreciate the gifts of the moment and experience freedom from past regrets and future anxieties.
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength. Thank God for what God has done, and start thanking him for what he will do! This is often most difficult in suffering. But if you put praise before the problem, you will be released from the fear and anxiety of the future.
Finally, Gratitude frees us from self-dependence. Hebrews 12:28 says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
John Piper explains, “The key to unlocking a heart of gratitude and overcoming bitterness and ugliness and disrespect and violence is a strong belief in God, the Creator and Sustainer and Provider and Hope-giver. If we do not believe we are deeply indebted to God for all we have or hope to have, then the very spring of gratitude has gone dry.”
When we are thankful, we can’t help but take our eyes off of ourselves. When we are thankful, our focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. Expressing thankfulness helps us remember that God is in control.
Thankfulness, then, is not only appropriate; it is actually healthy and beneficial to us. It reminds us of the bigger picture, that we belong to God, and that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing.
We look to God and realize that we are nothing without him. We realize that we did nothing to deserve all of our blessings, including the greatest gift worthy of our praise—the gift of salvation in Jesus.
Rick Warren said, “God smiles when we praise and thank Him continually. Few things feel better than receiving heartfelt praise and appreciation from someone else. God loves it, too! An amazing thing happens when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God. When we give God enjoyment, our own hearts are filled with joy.”