Do you find yourself wanting to be thankful but find yourself as far from personally appreciative for the hard things in your life? You even have committed to writing down 3 things a day in your Gratitude Journal . . .yet in your heart of hearts you know you are not really thankful at the core of who you are.
When you hear scriptures like I Thessalonians 5:18 – which instruct you to be thankful . . .period; do you ever feel hopeless?
You understand God’s grace. You are thankful for God’s provision. The favor of God you’ve received is remarkable . . .but what about this thorn in your flesh? What about this problem that won’t go away? How about the remedy to the disease or situation that won’t take hold and work?
You spend your allotted time daily to list the top three things you are thankful for — yet you dare not write the thing that keeps you awake at night.
How can you be thankful even when you don’t “feel” thankful? Is it wrong to be thankful if you can’t back it up with your emotions?
Two scriptures will help us solve this dilemma. The first is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and the second is Psalm 119:7.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – n everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
The word “thanks” here is the Greek word eucharisteó which means – properly, acknowledging that “God’s grace works well,” i.e. for our eternal gain and His glory; to give thanks – literally, “thankful for God’s good grace.” (biblehub.com)
Psalm 119:7 – I will give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments.
The word “thanks” here is the Hebrew word yadah which means to throw or cast thanks like you would strain to throw something heavy.
Each time thanks comes as an agreement toward, casting toward, acknowledging of God and appreciation to God for His grace. This is a recognition of God and who He is.
Psalm 119:7 says genuine thankfulness comes only as the righteous judgments of God are learned. This helps us to be confident, God doesn’t expect for us to appreciate Him or acknowledge Him without first knowing who He is and what He thinks about things.
Today, if you are having trouble being thankful it is not imperative that you begin (or continue) a Gratitude Journal to be more thankful. What is of more importance and would value you more greatly is to spend time reading and meditating on the righteous judgments of God. When you learn His righteous judgments, thanks will be the natural outcome.
Reading and understanding what God says is right, just, and normal will dramatically affect the manner in which you give thanks. Remember it was noted in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – thanks literally “Thankful for God’s good grace”. How can you be thankful for God’s good grace, if you don’t learn what God’s grace looks like? How do you know what God’s grace looks like unless you read, study, meditate upon what it looks like?
Today – suspend your Gratitude Journal habit for 30 days. Instead of spending the time journaling about the things you are grateful for, spend the time reading and meditating on God’s grace. Then, when your 30-day suspension is up, you will really have some clarity on what items to put in your gratitude journal that display God’s Grace.
The book of Ephesians is a great place to start in the study of what God’s Grace looks like. Mark out a 30 day stretch. It’ll be approximately 5-6 verses of scripture a day for you to read, think about, and ask God to help you see His grace in them. Once the 30- day stretch is over, keep reading God’s Word and learning His righteous judgments and resume the Gratitude Journal. I think you’ll “feel” more thankful as you complete your daily entries.
Written By: Anne Gurley