We all have good days and bad days. Seems like a complete cliche' to say, but it's nonetheless true. Some days it is easy to feel grateful to God and other days it seems impossible.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.Psalm 118:24 ESV
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What does it Mean to be Grateful to God?
Gratitude has a simple definition, but it is much more complicated to actually implement. I have read many 'biblical' definitions of gratitude, but perhaps the one I like the most is this:
Gratitude is giving grace, goodness, and kindness to others out of a pure heart that is aimed at their wellbeing.
When we are grateful to God, we are doing so with a heart that intends to praise and glorify our maker who has given us all things. If there is anyone we should come to with gratitude, it is our God. Colossians 3 reminds us just how important this practice is.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:15-20 ESV
That last sentence is key, "whatever you do". Our lives should be constantly an overflow of gratitude to God.
Why should I be Grateful to God?
Simply put gratitude should be the natural byproduct of a heart devoted to God. Is there no gratitude in your heart? Why is that? Do you not have a relationship with your Savior Jesus right now? Or is there something deeper going on?
We should be grateful to God because without him we have nothing. If you believe the Bible, then you know that eventually, the world will pass away. Whatever you are building here will not last. But our eternal souls will last. Spiritual maturity is important and learning to be grateful to God is part of that maturity.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within meColossians 1:28-29 ESV
Gratitude in the Bible
What does the Bible have to say about gratitude or thanksgiving? Quite a lot actually.
There is a large difference between the 'thanks' and 'gratitude' in the Bible. Simply put, just because you are thankful, does not mean you are grateful. Saying the word 'thank you' is an act of politeness, but gratitude is a much deeper sense of appreciation and understanding of what the giver has given.
Merriam- Webster defines being thankful as "conscious of benefit received." It is a very shallow and self-aimed definition of being thankful.
If you would like to go deeper into the definition of gratitude and thankfulness in the Bible, I encourage you to check out this article by Gentle Christian parenting. Christiana dives much deeper into the Greek definitions of the words and gives a well-rounded perspective on the differences.
5 Ways to Show Gratitude (even when you don't feel like it)
How can we be grateful to God even when we don't feel like it? This world is not a kind place, it is easy to get bitter and resentful of our circumstances. Where does that leave us? Certainly not with a grateful heart.
Here are 5 ways to show gratitude to your maker even when you do not feel like it.
1. Write Out Things you are Grateful for in a Prayer Journal
Prayer journals are powerful tools to write our thoughts and prayers out.
Sometimes prayer journals are nice to keep and to look back at everything God has done for you. Other times they may be something that you write down and eventually destroy. Your prayer journal can be a place where you are 100% honest with God and pour out your frustrations and
I have two free ones that you can download and use repeatedly, and much more available in the Healing Home digital shop.
2. Spend Time in Purposeful Bible Reading
There is no other book as powerful as your Bible. Picking up the Bible and even reading for 1 minute is better than not reading at all.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
There are many more Bible verses about gratitude in the Bible. The Psalms in particular are filled to the brim with shouts of gratitude that often come from a place of despair.
3. Take 5 Minutes Outside to Admire Creation
A good way to take the focus off yourself and your circumstances are to head outside and admire creation. The God that created you also created the masterpiece that you see outside. How much more does he love you who has an eternal soul! You have much to be grateful for, even when it feels hopeless.
For you formed my inward parts;Psalm 139:13-14
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
4. Turn on Worship Music and Let it Change your Heart
Have you ever walked into church having a bad day? Me too. I think we all have at one point or another. I am always amazed how corporate worship has the power to change my heart in just a few moments. As the music washes over me, I am transported into the throne room of God and whatever was giving me a bad day dissolves away.
You can do this at home too. Turn on encouraging worship music and just sing away!
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!Psalm 95:1 ESV
5. Bow your Head and Pray
Turn your heart back to God with a simple prayer. It does not have to be powerful or fancy, just layout your feelings to your Father God who understands you better than you understand yourself. It can be as simple as this:
Dear Lord, I don't feel grateful today. In fact, I feel the opposite of that. I am angry, bitter, and resentful. They are not pleasant emotions, but I don't feel like I have the power to change them. I want to be grateful for my circumstances and not wallow in myself. I don't have the strength, please surround me with your strength and change my heart. Amen.
Be Grateful to God
Being grateful to God is simple, yet also complicated when we are waging the war of our emotions. Take time to work through these 5 steps of being grateful to God and remember that God loves you more than you can possibly imagine. Even in days of stress and worry, He wants what is best for you.