What if I told you something that could immediately make you feel better?
When a person realizes they are physically out of shape, they cannot immediately change that condition. They must discipline themselves in diet and exercise for a time to become healthy. But there is a Holy prescription that the Great physician has provided that has an immediate impact on our state of being.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Col. 3:15-17
I am becoming more and more convinced that an attitude of thankfulness is the most important attitude to develop in life. Because this truth is so elementary it can be easily overlooked. Often, simplicity is equated with insignificance, but nothing could be further from the truth. I am becoming more convinced that thanksgiving is the foundational attitude of living. It is number one in my mind. If a heart isn’t seasoned with thanksgiving, one is greatly handicapped in life. Living from a foundation of thanksgiving, I remain stable in an unstable world. Bad news never has good timing but a heart that remains thankful is insulated against bitterness and extended seasons of discouragement.
An attitude of thankfulness is essential for mental and emotional health. A heart conditioned by thanksgiving opens the door into God’s very presence. Regular offerings of thanks are like the opening of windows so that fresh air and sunshine can come into a dark and gloomy house. “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving…” Psalm 95:2 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving…” Psalm 100:4 Thanksgiving always provides an entry into God’s presence.
“In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Ps. 16:11
Romans 1 tells us that when a person does not honor God with thankfulness their heart is darkened and thinking becomes futile. I call it depression. The darkness of ingratitude leaves us in our dissatisfaction and, left unchecked, leads to some forms of mental illness. We were not designed to be ungrateful.
Gratitude is a spiritual discipline that can have an immediate impact. At times when I have had bouts with discouragement, I have turned my heart to God in thanksgiving and find myself being immediately lifted. My circumstances don’t change, I do! The fog lifts from around my head and I again see clearly how good God has been to me.
I do what I call “Thank-ups”. Similar to physically dropping and doing push-ups, I just simply start thanking God for all He has done and is doing and has promised to do (the more reps the better). A realization of His goodness gives way to awareness of His presence and I begin to feel better-just like that! Amazing!
When an attitude of gratitude is fused into my character mix, I become more whole and I reflect God’s goodness to others. Yes, Thanksgiving is a powerful holiday if we can keep from missing its significance in our rush to Christmas.
God has been so good to us. If we just look around, we can see His goodness everywhere. May God bless you this Holiday season. But, more than that, may you be aware and thankful for it.