In this article, based on chapters 24 and 25 in Free Your Mind, we will discuss how expressing gratitude brings joy and deepens our relationships.
The passage below encourages us to be thankful to God, our Father in heaven:
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. – Colossians 1:10-12, emphasis added
Embracing a spirit gratitude is one of the most positive, life-changing attitudes we can have. It not only pleases God, but it does even more than that—it also brings us joy! How does expressing gratitude to God bring us joy?
- It gets us focused on the good things in life.
- It helps us to think about our blessings, not just our problems and difficulties.
- It focuses us on God: his love, grace, and answers to our prayers.
- It helps us to see the gifts God has given us that we didn’t even ask for!
Paul has more to say about thankfulness:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7, emphasis added
Expressing gratitude reminds us of the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God. It reminds us of the many ways He has kept his word and honored his promises in our lives. The more thankful we are, the stronger our faith will grow! Gratitude is not about making things look better than they are, it is about seeing how great things really are!
Did you realize that gratitude can help us find peace? Take a look at these words:
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15
Gratitude increases the peace we experience in our hearts. It makes us more relaxed and less anxious, discouraged, and depressed. It takes our focus off ourselves and our problems, and it centers our thoughts on God, Jesus, and their wonderful grace and blessings in our lives!
Of course, God and Jesus aren’t the only ones we should thank; we should openly express our gratitude to other people. Look at the way Paul showers his thanks upon the churches in Ephesus and Philippi:
For this reason, ever since I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. – Ephesians 1:15-16
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:3-6
Like Paul, let us express generous gratitude to others. We can share thanks in person and on the phone, on paper and in emails. I love expressing thanks to God, Jesus, and the people I love, and I do so as often as I can. I’ve found that my gratitude prompts my family members and friends express warm thankfulness to me too! It means so much to me when I hear their encouraging words and reread the inspiring notes that they have sent me. Our mutual encouragement blesses us all!
Brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts to feel and to share gratitude to God, to Christ, and to one another. Our joy will increase and we will all draw closer to God and to each other!
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