I once heard someone say, “The seeds of sadness can’t be planted in thankfulness.” As I began to ponder on this thought, I realized how true this was. Sadness has no place where there is gratitude. When you tell someone you are thankful you don’t say it with a saddened heart but rather you say it with a heart full of joy.
Below you’ll find three keys to having a grateful heart.
1.To have a grateful heart is to thank God for what he has already done for you.
In Psalm 118:28-29 it says, “You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Take a moment. Just close your eyes and reflect on all the good things God has done in your life.
Think back to that time where you encountered the Lord like never before, think of all the great things the Lord has allowed you taste, all the beautiful things like sunsets that God has allowed us to see… wow has God not been so good?!?
Everyday there is at least TWO things to be grateful for: (1) we are alive, we are able to see another day and (2) God sent His son to die for you and for me. The God of this universe wanted to show you how much He cared for you even if you’d deny, reject, or mistreat Him. Therefore, He gave his most precious gift away so that you and I could have the choice to live with Him one day. If those two things don’t put you in a mode of thanksgiving, I don’t know what will.
2.To have a grateful heart is to thank God for what you are going through.
Whether you are going through a great season in your life or the roughest season in your life, I challenge you to be thankful.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 it says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Did you see that small three lettered word that can make a huge difference to the statement? All. We are called to be thankful in all circumstances for that is God’s will for us. This means that in rain or shine, we are to give thanks. In the ups or the downs, we are to give thanks. When it’s joyous and delightful, we are to give thanks. When it hurts and it sucks, we are to give thanks.
But why? Why does God want us to be thankful in all circumstances, even the rough ones? That does not make sense to our flesh.
In James 1:2-4 it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
God places us in these situations that don’t make sense, that we don’t understand, and where we hurt to test our faith and produce perseverance in us. That perseverance will make us mature and complete and will cause us not to lack in ANYTHING.
So if you feel like you are going through something? Respond with thanksgiving, even if it’s the hardest thing to do. You may be thinking “but you don’t understand…there’s no way I can thank God for what I am going through.” When you think this way, you are only thinking of the now. The future is too far away and you are focusing on the rut you are in.
I challenge you to be thankful for what you are going through it is because you have to thank God like the victory is already won. He has won for you already. I am challenging you to look to the future and know that what you are going through now is because it is preparing you for the future.
You don’t see the future, but God does. You don’t see how this time of trials will allow someone else to see their victory because they are hearing about yours. You don’t see how moments like these caused you to grow closer to God and how this is creating you to become the person you were created to be.
Is it hard to thank God when you feel like you are going through hell? You bet it is, but thanking God for it will allow you to understand that greater things that are coming.
3.To have a grateful heart is to thank God for what He is currently doing for you.
In Ephesians 5:20 is says, “…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So I have this traffic light in front of my house that used to literally take FOREVER to turn green. I got in the habit of thanking the Lord every time the light turned green. Nowadays, I don’t find myself waiting so long, especially on Sundays when I am off to church, coincidence? I think not haha. No but once I started thanking God for something so little, every time the light turned green I would be reminded that God knows me, sees me, and cares about even the little things in my life.
Gratefulness has caused something someone would count as small to become a blessing to my life. It’s crazy how becoming grateful for things increases your awareness of God even in the little things.
I totally recommend thanking God for the great things that happen in your life like passing a test, getting a car or job, beginning a marriage, and etc. but I challenge you to thank God also for all He’s done in the past, what you are going through, and what He is currently doing in your life even those little blessings.
Having a grateful heart will cause you to be a grateful person which will cause you to become a joyous person,
because like we said in the beginning depression, sadness cannot be planted where there is thankfulness.