For the video teaching on this, please link to our 721 Ministries Videos on Vimeo.
Be joyful always, 17 pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18, Bold added)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6, Bold added)
Why is this? I believe, primarily because I have lived it, that an attitude of gratitude is a miracle drug. It has the power to change my perspective about anything and everyone. The more I remember the wonderful gifts my Heavenly Father has lavished on me, the more full of joy I am, and therefore the more generous I am. Generous in the way I view others, and generous in the way I view my life and my circumstances.
Yes, my glass is half full, but even more so my glass is overflowing with the Living Water of thankfulness. When we lose our gratitude-focus we criticize and complain.¹ The next time you are doing either, check yourself, because you have lost your focus on just how blessed you are.
So to assist, here is the exercise we did, and I recommend that you do this, too. Because a heart full of gratitude is a joyful heart. And don’t we all want that?
Make a list under each category:
I am thankful for:
What Could Be
What I Deserve **(See below for examples)
What is: The multitude of blessings already in your life.
What could be: The many, many … many ways your life could be so much worse. (Just look around you)
Unanswered prayers: Your past prayers that God did not answer the way you desperately wanted him to, and now you look back and say, “Oh my! Thank you for not answering that prayer! What a mess that would have turned out to be!”
What I deserve: Speaking for Sam, I deserve nothing from my Father. Actually, after he saved me from Hell and from my Self, which I in no way deserved, he should have put me in a corner and had someone pop me with a plastic bat for the rest of my life.
Perhaps this prayer captures this all:
“No matter my situation, I am going to thank you now, Jesus, before I see how you work this out, because look at what you’ve already done, how bad things could be in my life, and for the ignorant and shortsighted prayers you lovingly refused to grant. And now looking back … thank you, thank you, thank you!
None of this do I deserve, all of which is your pure, lavished grace.”
If you will invest in this exercise, you will see that you are the most blessed person on the planet. So, why then would you ever criticize and complain? That is unless you are an ingrate, and a complete narcissist, and a spoiled rotten crybaby. (Happy Thanksgiving!)
¹Jesus Calling February 21
** Here are a few categories to help your thought process:
How good it is How much worse it could be Unanswered Prayers
Eternal Life with God
Wife / Husband