What Makes A Person Thankful?

What is it that makes a person thankful?

We should ask the question more often. We see examples everywhere–the person who has gone through terrible struggles but thinks of himself/herself as blessed and the recipient of God’s goodness. You notice the senior adult with a gracious countenance and you are amazed and want to be that way. Or, you see a senior adult grouchy and hard to deal with and wonder how they could ever wind up like that.

What makes us thankful? As believers, we all know we should be. How can we grow in thankfulness?

First, you have to want to be thankful. You don’t get anything you don’t want. No habit–either good or bad–comes without our one way or another wanting it to happen. Sometimes we drift into things–these are almost always bad–but we really don’t drift into the qualities which describe God and His people.

Second, you must ask God for it. Having determined that you want to be thankful, you must begin to pray for it until you receive it. Only God knows how this happens, but prayer does change us. When we tell God we want to be like Him and please Him, we begin to see changes in our lives.

As you pray, do so fervently. Pray believing. Remember that without faith it is impossible to please God. You will not have thanksgiving or any other godly quality if you do not believe that God will provide it. This is God’s way to work in our lives.

Third, you must practice it. I recently read a quote by a brain researcher. He mentioned that our brains are always looking to automate, to make things easier. For this reason, our brains give us pleasure when we do something the same way over and over. In order to change, you must be willing to branch out and do something–over and over–that you’ve never tried before.

Finally, you must reinforce it. This is where the real practice comes in. You have to remind yourself that thanksgiving is good and that it pleases God. I pray Lamentations 3:22-23 almost every day: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

As I pray these words, I am reminded that God is good and that I have so very much for which to be thankful.

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One Comment


  1. Ed Matthew
    Nov 21, 2012

    Indeed, whatever ones condition Romans 8:28 may be applied. In fact it is required of us as Christians. It does not take away the ernest desire to realize the full potential of God’s Plan.

    At this moment I am reflecting on presiding over the burial ceremony of my father-in-law. He served in both WW2 as an enlisted man and in the Korean Conflict as a Naval Officer in Command of his own ship. He has several nephews. One served in Viet Nam. He was shot down and burned over approximately 80% of his body. I was a miracle that he survived. It took more surgeries than I can count to give him human facial features. When I presented The Flag I made mention of his service being appreciated by my Father-in-Law. It is interesting what people hear and how words are taken.

    It is often a tactic of the rebellious to put on a happy face when faced with Truth to remain in denial. I am sure Jeremiah, when he wasn’t lamenting over his trials, was thankful for God’s Calling. As the Shuma is sounded: Hear, O hear, O People of God! The Lord Thy God is ONE! Consider Whose we are and why, please.

    Have we realized our Reasonable Service; received it in Thanksgiving? “O Lord may the scales fall from Your Peoples Eyes to see Your Solution in Thanksgiving. A Yoke only You can Define & a Labor only You can Perform. Thank you for Dr. Bailey’s thankfulness. AMEN”

    Blessings.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. — Psalm 27:14 (NIV)