Attitude of gratitude. You’ve heard about it. Right? It isn’t just a cute little phrase with a nice sounding rhyme. It really does mean choosing to have an attitude of gratitude woven into your character – my character. So what’s your success rate with that, you ask. Well, I’m not at 100%, but I’m grateful that there are more opportunities to try and perfect on it. Feel free to call me on it. I’ll be grateful.
Here’s my take on this attitude of gratitude thing. It’s like the verse in the Bible 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that simply says, Pray without ceasing, or pray continually, or never stop praying. It doesn’t mean 24/7 on our knees, hands folded, and eyes closed so we can pray. Please remember this is just my opinion – but I think that verse means to be close enough to God that we can pray on a moment’s notice. That God is our first response not our last resort. Psalm 66:18 says if I cherish sin in my heart the Lord will not listen to me. It doesn’t take a college degree to figure out what that means.
Pray Without Ceasing …. Attitude of Gratitude – I’m not perfect, but both phrases make perfect sense to me.
Here are thoughts on how I can be GRATEFUL. Thoughts become actions … Actions become habits …. I don’t know. Maybe these will help you turn thoughts into actions into habits too. (Most scripture today is from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible)
G – God first – in fact, make prayer the bookends of your day. First thing in the morning, last thing at night. “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew 6:33-34
R – Ready – be ready to listen, learn, and share what God is teaching “Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my instruction. For it is pleasing if you keep these sayings within you, and they are ready on your lips. Proverbs 22:17-18
A – Answer – Be ready to share encouragement and hope with others. Our ability to answer is bonded to putting God first and being ready. “Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope. 1 Peter 3:15
T – Thankful – Being thankful is not a natural response. Sometimes it’s like straining concrete through a sieve, and we don’t understand, “How can this be good”? Nothing catches God by surprise, He holds the blueprint and has everything under His control. “Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
N – Nice – OK so this one can be really tough. Life is a contact sport and when we get beat up, being nice is not our first reaction. We could fill a library with pages of arguments of why we shouldn’t just be nice, but the Bible says “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. Romans 12:20
K – Kingdom life – This whole concept of Kingdom living sounds foreign and I can’t explain it in one sentence – but here’s the short version. It means following Jesus and living the way God says to live because that is the only way to prepare to live in God’s kingdom for eternity. “God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world.” Titus 2:11-12 This verse in Ephesians adds a little more substance. “Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure that people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.” Ephesians 5:5
F – Forgive – Remember that ‘Be Nice’ and ‘Kingdom Life’? Well, here’s something we all can get better at. Even if someone doesn’t ask me to forgive them, I have to forgive anyway. Here’s why. God says so! When I forgive, it frees me from all that burden that weighs so heavily on me, I become unproductive. Besides, it steals my joy and I’m not letting anyone do that to me. “God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you.” Colossians 3:12-13
U – Understand – It is one thing to have knowledge of something but to really understand is on another plane. “Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding; do not forget and do not turn aside from the words I speak. Wisdom is supreme—so acquire wisdom, and whatever you acquire, acquire understanding! Proverbs 4:5 & 7
L – Love – We have a misguided view of love here in the 21st century, but it’s been that way since the Garden of Eden. That’s why God inspired the love chapter of the Bible 1 Corinthians 13. Especially the verses 4 through 8. You know … “Love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not self-seeking, is not evil but is always truthful – and love keeps no record of wrongs.” We put love into action every day, don’t we? For people we love, it’s easier to return love, but God asks us go a step further. “Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you.” Luke 6:27-28 That last one is a tough command, isn’t it? That’s not my idea – to love people who hate me, it’s God’s command.
1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I hope this tour of infusing our attitude with gratitude has helped bring some light to the subject.
Ready team? Let’s get out there.