Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Complaints are common in our society, often raising little concern. But sometimes they’re hidden under the guise of critiques and feedback. Other times they’re insulated in the cloak of freedom of expression, or just our everyday conversation.
When the boss has unreasonable, last-minute requests and offensive words, or a loved one is impatient and harsh, we can start to feel unappreciated or even attacked. And often the words we use to describe the situation aren’t the most edifying or encouraging.
What we can see as simply voicing our opinions or feelings, from a disgruntled heart, is actually what the Lord refers to as grumbling and complaining and it can be very dangerous.
Phillipians 2:14–15 reminds us to “Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may be blameless and harmless, sons of God, without fault, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world.”
Although it’s good to avoid complaining, what’s more beneficial is cultivating an attitude of gratitude that shifts our perspective and helps us focus on truth and what really matters.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let everyone come to know your gentleness. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:4–7)
Not only are we commanded to be thankful and grateful—which means we’re able to carry this command out through the power of the Holy Spirit—but Jesus modeled this in His own conversations with His Father.
“At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to infants.'” Mt. 11:25
“Then He took the cup, and after He gave thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you.'” Mt. 26:27
“Then He took the bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.'” Lk. 22:19
“So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.'” Jn. 11:41
Thanksgiving springs from the place of realizing all that has been done for us as followers of Christ and understanding all we’ve received as children of God. Instead of agreeing with accusation that God is unjust and that life should be different, we are able to ask for the Lord’s perspective and see negative moments in the light of how greatly we are loved and what has been done for us that will last into eternity.
There are times when it feels as if life’s not “going right,” but there are many times when we simply need the Lord to shift our perspective about what it is He’s leading us through. Our eyes must be opened to the truth of the good things that the Lord has placed in our lives so that we don’t allow the negative to hinder our view or seem greater than it is.
He’s done great things for us
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (Jn. 3:16–17)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Eph. 1:3–5)
He’s transformed us
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:16–17)
“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Cor. 6:19–20)
He’s given us great things
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14)
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (Jn. 10:10–11)
“As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” (2 Pet. 1:3)
In a recent message, Mike Bickle taught on the importance of cultivating an attitude of gratitude as a key to overcoming in this life. When we see gratitude as the normal, healthy way of life, we can eradicate an ungrateful mentality from our thoughts and complaining from our speech. Get practical tips on how our outlook, speech, and attitude are changed as the Lord brings revelation.