Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude this Thanksgiving
Scripture commands us to thank and praise the Lord, and promises great blessings—including health and strength—to those who do.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude this Thanksgiving

by Adam Wittenberg
11/23/16 Christian Living

Thanksgiving comes once per year, but for Christians, giving thanks is to be part of our daily lifestyle.

Scripture commands us to thank and praise the Lord, and promises great blessings—including health and strength—to those who do.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NASB)

Even secular medicine has documented the link between unforgiveness and sickness. Bitterness, which includes a lack of gratitude, can kill you—first in spirit, and, eventually, in body.

“But you have not so learned Christ,” Paul writes in Ephesians 4:20–22, urging believers to “put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt.”

We are blessed as a nation to have a day set aside to be thankful. This has served us well for many years, as we recall all that God has done to bless and preserve the United States.

Thanksgiving helps keep a nation. Ungratefulness brings it into judgement, as we see from ancient Israel.

That nation’s disbelief and grumbling caused God to condemn an entire generation to wandering (and ultimately dying) in the wilderness, when the Lord desired to take them into the promised land (see Numbers 14).

They could not enter because of their unbelief, forfeiting the chosen rest that He was willing to give (Hebrews 3:15–19). By choosing grumbling instead of gratefulness, they made a bad situation worse and aroused the anger of God. The consequences were dire, so much so that we still talk about them today, thousands of years later.

Even in hard times, there is always something to be grateful for.

As Christians, we never tire of praising God for what He has done to ransom us from death and give us life. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4–6).

This act alone—Jesus’ death to pay for our sins and raise us to life—is worthy of eternal praise, and so we always have a reason to thank God. Even if our current circumstances are tough, He is still good and promises heaven for all who persevere in faith (Matthew 24:13).

Trials are nothing new, especially for the Church. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” Jesus says in John 16:33.

This Thanksgiving, we invite you to take your eyes off your circumstances and look to Christ, the greatest gift from God our Father in heaven, who gives us “every good gift and every perfect gift,” and has “no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

As a practical step, make a list (actually write down) the things you’re grateful for, including health, spiritual and material blessings, and relationships in your life.

Then put this list somewhere you will see it often. These ‘grateful points’ make an excellent screensaver or phone background, or note attached to the mirror you look into each morning.

This world has many ways to bring us down, but as Christians we can always celebrate what’s good and right, and the God who died and rose to give us life—and life to the full (John 10:10)!

Press in for that life. Speak it in faith, and celebrate every blessing you’ve received, thanking God that there’s more to come.

You may even want to hold a time of sharing around your Thanksgiving table this year, asking people to write and share what they’re thankful for. Gratefulness can be contagious!

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Start a new habit of thankfulness this year—and cultivate it as a daily lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!

For more, see Mike Bickle’s four-part series on gratitude. Blessings as you celebrate and give thanks!

What’s something you can thank God for this year?

Adam Wittenberg

position

A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. Adam is also active in evangelism and has a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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