Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. James 1:17
Did you spend some time focusing on what you’re grateful for this past week? If you did, you may have greatly improved your physical and emotional health. Over the past 20 years, numerous research studies have found that practicing gratitude on a regular basis has amazing positive effects. Being thankful can lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, reduce depressive symptoms, enhance your long-term happiness, increase your self-esteem, improve your relationships, and even change and rewire your brain. People in all parts of the world and in all types of circumstances are recognizing the value in noticing and naming something to be grateful for every day.
For many, gratitude is simply a positive mindset or a good feeling, with the focus on gifts in this life. As Christians, we don’t just have something to be grateful for, we have Someone to be grateful to! Our focus is on the Giver of those gifts—the Source of all of our blessings, both in this life and in the next. Consider what Scripture tells us about the One who is worthy of our gratitude:
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Psalm 107:8
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57
We give thanks to you, LORD God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. Revelation 11:17
We don’t just practice gratitude because of the many health benefits or because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside (though it’s pretty cool of God that it works that way). We practice gratitude because it is the natural response to learning more about our God who gives us “every good and perfect gift.” So how do we thank Him? It’s one thing to feel gratitude, but how do we live it out? The Bible gives us a couple of ideas:
With our words and actions: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
With our worship: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28
With our prayers: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
With our gifts: You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11
With our service to others: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10
With our testimony: I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1
As we look forward to our Savior’s second coming, let’s turn our focus from the blessings we have to the One who has blessed us, looking forward to the day we get to thank Him in person. As good as gratitude can feel, nothing will compare with that!
Dear Father, thank you for all the blessings you continually give us—for everything we need in this life, and for everything we need for eternal life. Keep our focus on you as the Giver of it all, and empower us to live out lives of gratitude until we see you face to face. Amen.