Gratitude adds power; complaining adds weakness.*
*Gotta love Joyce Meyer. This is one of her wisdom quotes!
What is my first response in most situations?
Am I thankful? Am I prayerful? Or am I complaint full?
How often are we so much like the Israelites? How often are we guilty of forgetting the great blessings and even mighty acts of deliverance the Lord has brought about in our lives? This is a constant battle for all of us. I think partially because we live in a culture that is consumed with focusing on the negative over the positive. We are bombarded with continual media reminders of all that is going wrong in our world. The news media rarely ever focuses on the good deeds many are still carrying out in the world. Of course, worldwide and as individuals we are all dealing with problems and things that are not going well or certainly not as planned or desired on a daily basis (ranging from serious to senseless, from major wars to traffic jams), but when our focus continuously remains on all the negative, an attitude of complaining almost instantaneously occurs. If not checked, an even worse sense of hopelessness, cynicism, and despair are likely to grip our minds, hearts, and our attitudes for sure.
Keep in mind, the attitudes reflected below occurred after the Lord had parted the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh & his army (forgetful leads to unthankful):
There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Exodus 16:2-3
So, how do we maintain an attitude of gratitude?
- Find something to be thankful for in every situation – you may have to be creative, but often it’s right in front of us, if only we will redirect our focus.
- Follow the old time saying put to music, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.”
- Thank God you are alive and breathing.
- Thank God for His beautiful creation that surrounds you – the sun, the moon, the birds, and the glorious blue sky and/or rain clouds above you.
- Thank God you are clothed, covered and fed.
- Thank God for your loved ones and your friends.
- Thank God for His never ending love for you. Even if you don’t feel loved by God, it is still true. For God so loved you, that He gave Jesus, His only Son for you, so that you could know Him and experiencing His amazing grace and love, and spend eternity with Him in Heaven after you leave your earth suit behind. (Read John 3:16-17)
- Have a little take with Jesus – yes, tell Him about all your problems and as 1 Peter 5:7 puts it, “cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” Prayer is an attitude changer too! Philippians 4:6 actually tells us not to worry, but to pray about every single thing & tell God all your specific requests and do so with an attitude of thanksgiving. If you do this, then the peace of God will begin to fill your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
- Change your focus – choose to focus on something good and positive! Yes, make the choice to focus on something good, something pure, something lovely, a good report (not the bad report of the news), anything you can find that is good to focus on – focus on it. This is just what Philippians 4:8 tells us to do and it works!
- If none of these help you have an attitude of gratitude (which is highly unlikely), simply remind yourself, it could be worse. A former pastor stated this one Sunday morning and it stuck in my mind like glue, and perhaps, that’s because it is true – it could be worse!
God’s will for you is thankfulness:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18