It’s tough to remember to give thanks to God in all circumstances especially when we are going through a difficult season. Our troubled times beg for attention that often distracts from the bigger picture of God being in control of our lives.
The irony of this forgetfulness is that an attitude of gratefulness actually makes our load lighter.
What can we do to cultivate a thankful spirit all the time?
#1) Designate a certain time of our day for giving thanks to God.
“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Most of us have a particular time to wake up, eat, work, or play—yet how many of us make the effort to thank God on a regular basis? When Jesus healed the ten men with leprosy, only one man remembered to come back and thank Him. (Luke 17:11-17). Sometimes we are like the other nine, we’re so enthralled with having our longings fulfilled that we often forget the One who made it possible. Keeping a journal nearby will help in this time of prayer and thankfulness. It will also strengthen your faith in God when you go back and read of His goodness during the hard times.
#2) Discipline our thoughts to remain thankful even in difficult situations.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
It’s much easier to sulk about our disappointments and hardships than it is to search out what we can be thankful for even in the midst of hardship. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the ability through the power of the Holy Spirit to discipline our thoughts. Our carnal nature or flesh longs to be fed and coddled into pity parties instead of refocusing our minds on thanking God for His goodness. We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16); therefore, we press our thoughts towards Him and not our circumstances. This type of discipline happens over time when we surrender our weakness to God and trust Him to lead our thoughts towards thankfulness.
#3) Develop an attitude of thankfulness through the reading of Scripture.
“Cause me to understand the way of your precepts that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 119:27)
We can best retrain our thoughts through the constant influence of the Scriptures. The book of Psalms is a great place to start the practice of giving thanks and praise to God for His wonderful works in our lives. There are many times the psalmists are transparent with their pain and suffering; yet they generally end with the positive influence of giving thanks to God. We can memorize, write, or recite select scriptures for those times when we’re tempted to stray away from having a thankful spirit.
Related reading: How To Find Time To Read the Bible: Top Ten Tips
#4) Deal with any ungrateful attitude in yourself immediately.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
It doesn’t take much for us to get wrapped around our problems without recognizing the insidious nature of an unthankful attitude. We forget that even in our need—God is providing everything in His own timing and way. The quickest remedy is to recognize our own lack of gratefulness and thank God right at that moment. Our true motives spring out of our hearts whether grateful or ungrateful and is revealed through our actions.
#5) Dedicate yourself to encourage others towards a spirit of thankfulness at all times.
“Correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Stand in a long line at any place (grocery store, bank, or government offices) and there’s usually much grumbling. As Christians, we have the unique ability to recognize opportunities to reveal Christ in moments where thankfulness is running low. Our attitude of gratefulness can have a contagious effect when we rise to the occasion. God receives glory from our testimony to others of His faithfulness and recognition of His goodness especially when life gets inconvenient.
God, I thank You for…
There’s much spiritual growth and maturity from a believer who begins their prayers with “God, I thank You…”. It’s much easier to start with the long list of our needs and desires; yet praying thanking God first reveals a heart that is completely trusting in our Lord. Beginning with thankfulness brings each of us to the reality of His goodness, grace, and faithfulness especially when we’re suffering. The Holy Spirit reassures our hearts and minds that God is going to take care of those who love and serve Him. Giving thanks at all times is one of the greatest spiritual steps of growth for all believers.
Related Reading: 5 Bible Lessons About Being Thankful
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