Do you realize how important gratitude is to our physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual wellbeing in a fallen world? It buoys us in a way like no other for-our-good-and-God’s-glory mandate from the Lord.
Buoy-“Noun, an anchored float serving as a navigation mark, to show reefs or other hazards, or for mooring. Verb, keep (someone or something) afloat.”
Did you catch that-it both “moors” us and “keeps us afloat.” What a beautiful picture of the balancing functions of gratitude!
Here are some great thoughts from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth:
Over the years, I have sought to make gratitude a way of life. And I have experienced many of the blessings that accompany the “attitude of gratitude.” However, I’ve seen that if I am not ceaselessly vigilant about rejecting ingratitude and choosing gratitude, I all-too-easily get sucked into the undertow of life in a fallen world. I start focusing on what I don’t have that I want, or what I want that I don’t have. My life starts to feel hard, wearisome, and overwhelming…I have seen how a lack of gratitude manifests itself in fretting, complaining, and resenting–whether within the confines of my own thoughts or, worse yet, through venting those thoughts to others.
But in those moments when I have found myself gasping for air, feeling that I was going under, I’ve discovered that gratitude truly is my life preserver. Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions. It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety. Over time, choosing gratitude means choosing joy.
But that choice doesn’t come without effort and intentionality. It’s a choice that requires constantly renewing my mind with the truth of God’s Word, setting my heart to savor God and His gifts, and disciplining my tongue to speak words that reflect His goodness and grace–until a grateful spirit becomes my reflexive response to all of life.
I am convinced that we must cultivate the grace and spiritual discipline of gratitude if we are to avoid losing our footing in these days. An important key to not becoming overwhelmed by what is going on around us is looking for evidences of God’s hand at work in the midst of the turmoil and being “simply overwhelmed with thankfulness to Him.”
It is striking to me how many times in Scripture–particularly in the book of Psalms–we are exhorted to give thanks, to praise the Lord, to sing to the Lord. Even more so to realize how many of those passages were penned by someone in dire straits. There is a reason for this constant biblical call to be thankful people. It points to a powerful secret, but one so few recognize, that it is overlooked in most anthologies I have seen on Christian virtues…gratitude is not merely a second-tier virtue in the Christian life–it is vital. And it is transformational. I truly believe a grateful spirit, rooted in the soil of God’s goodness and grace, will radically impact how you view and respond to everything in your life.