The Grateful Instead

gratefulPsalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” 

Thank goodness! Thank my lucky stars! Thank heaven! Expressions we often hear from those who experience something good in their lives. We humans are designed to give thanks. Gratitude surges as an instinctive response when all goes well…even if directed to an impersonal source.

This compulsion to thank something for our good fortune should lead us to the conclusion that there is, indeed, Someone to thank.

Connecting our impulse of gratefulness to that Someone increases our sense of satisfaction exponentially. It unlocks the gate to God’s presence and draws us inside. We’re no longer waifs with our noses pressed against the window. No wonder the psalmist encourages us to enter his gates with thanksgiving. There is no other way. The greater our awareness that God is the source of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) the fuller our joy.

So gratitude to God makes good things better. But it also makes bad things, well, good…

Nothing combats the isolation of depression more than gratitude. Thankfulness peels back the distortion that we have nothing for which to be grateful, even in the worst of circumstances. Job understood this. When he was stripped of everything, he humbly declared, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). Maintaining an attitude of gratitude throughout his ordeal released the strength he needed to persevere to the other side. It will do the same for us.

I’ve read that the 60’s rock group, The Grateful Dead, acquired their name via a random opening of the dictionary. I’d like to propose something more intentional…that we who love God would be noted as The Grateful Instead…

Grateful instead of whining. Grateful instead of complaining. Grateful instead of diving into self-pity. Grateful instead of self-congratulating.

We are created to be thankers. Every day. In every situation we face, we have the opportunity to choose the greatness of gratitude. To decide that we will be grateful instead…

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