Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude
Posted by Lynette

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever
- Psalms 118 NIV

I don’t know about you but I know for me sometimes it is so easy to focus on negative things. I’m twenty four and still living at home, I wish I made more money so I could afford to live in my own apartment, I wish I wasn’t in so much debt with student loans, I wish I was in better shape, I wish was thinner, I wish I wish, wish….

None of these wishes are bad but it comes from a place of discontentment and ungratefulness. For the last year, God has really shown me that I need to practice gratitude - that gratitude and thanksgiving is the antidote for discontentment and the bringer of joy.

Before Jesus was crucified he had the last supper with his disciples.  Jesus, being fully God and fully man, knew that his crucifixion was upon him. Can you imagine knowing that you were going to die? Can you imagine knowing that it would be painful? That you would suffer?  Now can you imagine thanking God for it?

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26: 26 NIV)

Jesus gave thanks knowing that his body would be broken. He also knew that it was for the greatest cause- to save us from our sins. He gave thanks knowing he would suffer, that he would hurt, that he would feel pain.

In our suffering, in our wishing, in our hoping, in our sadness, and our trials, we too can learn to thank God.  It’s not an easy practice and it takes time, effort, and trust in God to cultivate a life of thanksgiving and a heart filled with gratitude.

But as Christian’s we are told to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5: 18 NIV.) I am grateful I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach for every meal. I am grateful for the education I received, the friendships I cultivated, and the memories I created in college, I am grateful for a fully healthy, functioning body that Jesus hand-crafted.

What are you grateful for today? How can you begin to practice thanksgiving in your life?

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