Gratitude

I recently read a very good article by Nancy Leigh DeMoss about gratitude toward God and how it leads to peace in our lives. Here are some excerpts from it:

Matthew Henry, the eighteenth-century Puritan was once accosted by robbers while living in London and here was his response:

Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.

What a perspective! As someone has said, “If you can’t be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape.”

Gratitude is the pure, appropriate response to the saving and keeping grace of God. Its opposite is ingratitude, and it can be deceptively dangerous in our lives and relationships. In the ongoing struggle of daily life—out there where feelings of disappointment and entitlement can easily talk louder than our best intentions.

We know that we can and should pray about these matters. But praying is not all that we can and should do. “Do not be anxious about anything,” the apostle Paul wrote, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

To put it even more simply: In every situation … prayer plus thanksgiving equals peace.

Oh, we can try it the other way. Without thanksgiving. In her book Breaking Free, author and Bible teacher Beth Moore describes the way most people live, by substituting the familiar phrases from Philippians 4:6-7 with their polar opposites:

Do not be calm about anything, but in everything, by dwelling on it constantly and feeling picked on by God, with thoughts like, “And this is the thanks I get,” present your aggravations to everyone you know but Him. And the acid in your stomach, which transcends all milk products, will cause you an ulcer, and the doctor bills will cause you a heart attack, and you will lose your mind.

Prayer is vital—but to really experience His peace, we must come to Him with gratitude. Hard gratitude. Costly gratitude. The kind that trusts that He is working for our good even in unpleasant circumstances … the kind that garrisons our troubled hearts and minds with His unexplainable peace.

Are you facing one or more chaotic, unsettled situations? Is your soul weary from striving, stress, and strain? There is peace, my friend—God’s peace—waiting for you just beyond the doors of deliberate gratitude. But the only way to find it is to go there and see for yourself. God’s peace is one of the many blessings that live on the other side of gratitude.

Brad Gauen

 

 


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