The power of gratitude

How much does a thank you mean to you?

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – Proverb

Paul understood the impact of gratitude on us when he wrote to the church of Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (GE) Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.

This used to be a difficult verse for me to apply. Purely because I interpreted the verse, incorrectly. I always thought that I should be thankful, even in difficult circumstances, because it was God’s will for me that circumstances be hard. As God pressed the topic of gratitude on my heart, for this week’s post, the Holy Spirit opened my spiritual eyes to the true meaning.

God’s will for us as His children is that we express gratitude always. His will is not the circumstances, with strain to try and be grateful as an afterthought or response. It is an attitude of gratitude, always, every day. It is a lifestyle and not a response to circumstances. I am not grateful because of circumstances. I am grateful because, in Christ, I have the ability to live with gratitude daily. I am part of God’s family and belong to Him because of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I can be grateful IN all circumstances and not FOR all circumstances.

God calls for a life of gratitude because it is an act of praise and has many benefits. Just look at many of the Psalms. We come to God with a response of joyous praise for all He has done for us. Even the heavenly beings around God’s throne offered thanksgiving to God (Revelation 4:9). Jesus thanked God for the fish and loaves before He multiplied it to feed the thousands. Thanksgiving preceded the miracle. There is power in a grateful attitude, heart, and spirit.

In our prayers, we come to thank God as well, but we also come with the hope of what God will still do, and we are grateful to Him for that. When we come to God with our needs or worries, we are prompted to pray with gratitude because it produces peace and rest for our minds and souls.

Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭AMP‬‬ ”Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].”

Gratitude is a strong emotion that has a significant impact on our physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. It influences us greatly, whether we are on the receiving or giving end. It can affect conditions like stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and grief in a very positive way.

Scientific research studies have confirmed repeatedly that gratitude alters the chemical reactions in your brain, which in turn impacts your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. When we express and receive gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters are responsible for our emotions and make us feel good. By expressing gratitude daily, we can consistently release these neurotransmitters and new neuropathways form. Whenever we repeat these thinking patterns and behavior, we strengthen these positive neuropathways. We will feel happy on a more permanent basis. It is like our brains are creating a natural anti-depressant.

Furthermore, research has indicated that gratitude activates the parts of the brain that regulate sleep, emotions, memory, and bodily functions. In several studies, people who already received counseling recovered more quickly from anxiety, subjective feelings of pain, and depression if they kept a gratitude journal as well. These feelings of gratitude were written, as well as expressed to others. A brain filled with gratitude and kindness, gets deeper, healthier sleep, and wakes up feeling more refreshed and alert. One also produces less cortisol, which is the stress hormone. By changing our thinking and outlook on life to be more grateful, we can rewire our brains to be more resilient in times of stress and grief.

Never again underestimate the power of your thinking and words spoken over yourself or someone else.

Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭AMP ”And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”

Gratitude is an expression of our love and appreciation for God as well as others. Just think of the physiological impact it has on you or the recipient when you show your gratitude. It also pleases God when we are grateful. Do you want to be that one lepper that came back to thank Jesus, or one of the nine, that forgot, or did not bother to do so?

1 Corinthians‬ ‭8:3‬ ‭AMP ”But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience, and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].”

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.
Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference. – Thomas Merton

Be careful about which company you keep. We can be influenced by others to be negative and complaining, or positive and thankful. Be quick to show your gratitude to others and especially towards God. Praise and thank Him for all of yesterday, today, and what is yet to come because He is there, and you are His. Gratitude creates life, and you have the power to give it. Take time to say it, show it, and give it to others. There is healing for the body, spirit, and soul in a simple thank you or act of appreciation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I appreciate every follow, every view, and every share, and pray that God will use these words to change lives. I am grateful for the opportunity and means to share God’s heart and to encourage you today. May God bless you.

Stay resolute my friend.

Talita

VERSE IMAGE OF THE WEEK

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