Having an Attitude of Gratitude
November is a month known to house two holidays of gratitude: Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. While each commemorates something different, both reflect on reasons why we should be thankful. As Christians, we know the Bible encourages us to be thankful for all things, but even in a month that has thankfulness as its theme, we can struggle to have an attitude of gratitude.
Those moments where we are thankful despite our circumstances are the moments that we share the light of the gospel with others. If those around us see Christians constantly grumbling, they miss out on the love and grace provided through Jesus Christ. However, when the world sees us praising God even in the midst of trials, our gratitude shows how God can transform lives.
Christians have an opportunity every day to share the gospel with others. Even when we don’t personally speak to someone, our actions speak volumes, and when we wear our faith-based clothing, we give a reason for our unique attitude and point others to Christ. This post breaks down how Christians can and should continue an attitude of gratitude every day of the year.
Reasons to Be Grateful
Christians are reminded to be grateful throughout the Bible. Psalms contains numerous poems of thanksgiving and praise, and often, Christians think something must be wrong with them when they don’t feel grateful or thankful.
Truthfully, it’s easy to be thankful when you get exactly what you want. Whether it was the perfect gift on your birthday or you made it to work on time despite traffic, it’s easy to be thankful when things go your way. What sets Christians apart from the world is the ability to be thankful even when times are rough.
The Bible offers several examples of this thankful attitude:
- Daniel: Born a noble but enslaved in his youth, Daniel steadfastly served and praised God despite his circumstances. Even when others tried to take him down because he was to be promoted by the king and even while in the lion’s den, Daniel remained faithful and thankful.
- Jonah: Jonah created his own bad circumstances, which included sitting in the belly of a great fish. However, Jonah didn’t repent and thank God after he was spit out of the fish. Instead, the Bible tells us he thanked God and repented while still sitting inside. Despite his horrible circumstances, he saw a reason to be thankful.
- David: When David was hiding from Saul in a cave, he praised and thanked God for what He would do. Despite feeling abandoned by those around him, David knew that God had not abandoned him.
- Paul: Paul lost his rank and respected connections when God transformed his heart, but Paul praises God in Philippians 3:8 and describes those earthly things as trash compared to what he has in Christ.
- Jesus: The perfect picture of thankfulness and gratitude, Jesus thanks God in the upper room for the bread and cup. During the last supper, the bread and cup was a picture of Christ’s upcoming death on the cross. Despite the fact that he would die bearing the sins of the entire world, Jesus still thanked God.
As Christians, if we do as the Bible says and give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18)—even in the hard things, the hurtful things, the stressful things—we can be a light that points to Jesus. This attitude must be one that is cultivated since we are born as self-centered beings. When we come to know Christ and put our faith in his death and resurrection, we are to die to our selfish wants and strive to do his will.
This dying to self and living for Christ is seen as a shocking choice in a world driven by individual desires. If you actively pursue a heart of thankfulness you can bear witness to your connection to Christ when you wear modern Christian clothing. A thankful spirit even when times are tough makes others take notice, and you can glorify God with your attitude and your clothing.
Building and Maintaining a Heart of Thankfulness
Although it’s easier to be thankful when things go your way, you aren’t always truly, genuinely thankful, like when just one leper—not all of them—returned to thank Jesus for being healed. It’s even harder to be so when things don’t go your way, but the Bible encourages us to be thankful in all things. Since genuine thankfulness is not a natural reaction to many of life’s circumstances, we have to put in the work.
Like anything in the Christian life, a thankful heart takes proactive effort. To be thankful in all things, we must have a heart full of gratitude overflowing into our day. To build this thankful heart, we must be mindful each day of:
- What Christ did on the cross for us: Jesus took the sins of the entire world and faced the penalty of death that we deserve. He died in our place so that we could have eternal life. No matter what we’re facing, remembering the work of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection so that we could live in the glory and splendor of Heaven for eternity should be enough to keep us thankful for what we have in him.
- Ways God is working in our life right now: Instead of being like the lepers who didn’t return to thank Jesus for healing them, we need to proactively look for ways to praise God in our daily lives. God works in our lives every day to do His will, and if we open our eyes to His work, we will find reasons to be thankful and to praise Him.
- Circumstances we may not understand but that are for our good: We will certainly encounter circumstances in life that are unpleasant, uncomfortable, and downright sorrowful, but the Bible promises in Romans 8:28 that everything God does will work together for our good and His glory. We can be confident that God in His perfect love is helping us through those difficult times so that we can glorify Him.
We were made to glorify God, and we can do so in a tremendous way simply be being grateful. When Christians express thankfulness even in dire circumstances, people want to understand how that can be. When we have gratitude during times that the world would normally feel sorrow, people want to understand how we can choose to feel that way. Your faith-based clothing offers the reason. You show others that you look at your life through a different view, not one that laments over what has been done to you but one that rejoices in what has been done for you.
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