After having a conversation about gratitude with someone new I met, I started mulling over the idea of gratitude. Again.
We all know that negative thoughts cause adverse effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Part of it is stress and worry. They act as triggers causing chemical responses in the body.
Fear and unforgiveness are also part of this, but I think ungratefulness comes close to the top. An ungrateful heart is a cold, closed heart. We poison our own selves with our negative thinking and become what we think, as Solomon tells us, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7 NKJV)
I googled research on gratitude and was amazed at the number of studies that have been conducted. The results were very surprising. They include…
*fewer aches and pains
*dissolved negative effects in the brain
*reduction of aggression, less likely to retaliate
*a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure
*overcoming a victim mentality and sense of entitlement
*reduction of toxic emotions such as depression and feeling lonely
*increased well-being with higher levels of positive emotions and self-esteem
*more sympathy and empathy towards others, acting with more generosity and compassion.
Praise also defeats the enemy. Without praise connecting us to God’s dwelling place (Ps. 22:3), we allow negativity to take over and the enemy to go to work.
Gratitude can be a difficult trait to cultivate. How does one express gratitude when abused, when a child is killed, when debilitation is the result of an accident, when a spouse leaves, when a devastating disease attacks, when funds are lacking for necessities?
Gratitude is based on choice, a definite decision to be grateful. Grateful that God loves us, that He forgives us, that He has given us eternal life, that He is with us. Paul said, “Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.” (Col. 2:7b TLB)
I made a definite choice a l-o-n-g time ago to be grateful, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. I cannot stand myself now when I begin to whine, even if it’s only in my head.
I say as David said, “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB)
Paul’s statement is now mine, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want.” (Phil. 4:12 TLB) This statement has taken up residence in my heart, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB)
(From When Thanksgiving Gets Stuck in Your Throat)
You may be having tremendous difficulties in your life right now, but I pray you will give the Lord your praise and gratitude, revealing your trust and faith in Him. It will make a difference in your attitude. In your circumstances. And more!
What does gratitude do for you?