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.
If you would like to be notified each time I write a new article, subscribe at waylonbailey.com at the top of the page. It’s easy to do and completely free.