WEEK 48 | WHY LIVING WITH GRATITUDE IS SO IMPORTANT
Sadly, many people do not live with an attitude of gratitude. Many focus on what they don’t have instead of what they do have. Many focus on their problems instead of their blessings. Many focus on how good others have it versus how good God has been to them in so many ways.
Is gratitude just a matter of focus? No, although it matters how and where we focus in life. Gratitude is a matter of the condition of our heart and mind. It is a matter of nurturing our heart and mind to REMEMBER all that God has done for us, all that God is doing for us, and all that God will do for us in the future. Regular remembering of the many blessings of God is crucial for us to train our heart and mind to think correctly and feel accurately. Remembering is a spiritual discipline.
Gratitude anchors us. Thankfulness squares our perspective, clears our vision, and centers our devotion. Living with appreciation gives us an accurate view of God’s goodness in our lives. Nick Vujicic measures 3’3″ and was born with no hands and no feet. He is married, has four kids, sky dives, swims, plays football and golfs. He says, “I’ve never met someone who is thankful who is also bitter. And I’ve never met someone who is bitter who is also thankful.” He goes on to say, “…you can be bitter or better. Choose better, bitter doesn’t do any good.” Coming from a man who is conquering human adversity like few others can understand, his words resound with great impact. Nick has a ministry he calls “Life without Limbs/Life without Limits.” He says: “I have a choice to be angry at God for what I don’t have or be thankful for what I do have.” And, “Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on the unfairness of past hurts.” Nick is an example of someone who has anchored his heart and mind in gratitude.
Remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness and purposes and love was vital for Joshua. When the Israelites murmured (and they were prone to grumble), he reminded them of God’s deliverance from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, providing quail and manna in the wilderness, and more. In fact, the book of Joshua reminds us of how important it is for us to practice a rhythm of remembering.
In Joshua 24:25-27, Joshua introduces a Covenant Stone as a symbol of God’s goodness and a reminder to remember His goodness and faithfulness. But this is not the first time he did something like this in the book of Joshua. In fact, this was the seventh memorial he’d built in the Promised Land reminding Israel of God’s greatness and faithfulness. (Check out Joshua 4:20, 7:26, 8:29, 8:32, 10:27, 22:27, 24:26-27).
This Thanksgiving season, spend extra time remembering God’s goodness in your life. And as you do, remember that gratitude shapes your attitude. It molds your heart and mind in a way that pleases God. In fact, a great prayer to pray regularly is, “God, help me be more grateful. Help me have a thankful heart and mind.” I pray each of you have a wonderful – and thankful – Thanksgiving week.