Godly Gratitude

Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

How Gratitude Motivates Daily Disciplines
Tiffany Layton

As I work through the pages of my Quiet Time Companion each morning, I practice a habit that has changed my perspective on life. As I reach the section labeled ‘Today I’m Thankful For:’ I make it a point to always find five things I’m thankful for each day. Sometimes they are lighthearted and fun, and sometimes they are deep and intimate. The habit of finding things to be grateful for has been life-changing.
A lack of gratitude will always spiral into a destructive pattern of selfishness. Unfortunately, I have learned this lesson the hard way. I have frequently shared how I’ve been learning to control my thoughts and emotions in spite of challenging physical health issues. I’ve discovered that there is one godly attribute that is pivotal in overcoming the selfishness of the flesh and the limitation of the body: Gratitude.
A heart full of gratitude significantly motivates all other daily disciplines. It becomes much easier, for example, to take thoughts (and emotions) captive to the obedience of Christ when I’m full of gratitude for all Christ has done to set me free.
I pray through some of the lessons I’ve had to learn that you may also find your way to a life full of thanksgiving!

Reflecting on Christ results in gratitude.
There is only one thing at the center of godly gratitude and that is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The person who regularly reflects on what Jesus has done for us will be a person who lives their life with thankfulness. The times in my life when I have lacked gratitude are also the seasons when my thoughts and feelings were magnified, and Christ’s work was not exalted.
One regular practice that has helped me continually reflect on Jesus is taking communion as a part of my quiet time. My pastor’s wife, and close friend, began doing this some time ago and I watched her life completely change. The commitment to holiness, purity, and truth grew in her exponentially. Her newfound, unexplainable joy was contagious. The Word challenges us to reflect on what Jesus did for us often. We are asked to regularly remember His work on the cross. Gazing at the cross, resurrection, and throne room of Heaven will provoke within us a humble gratitude.

Repentance and obedience flow from a thankful heart.
There are two foundational necessities of the Christian faith: repentance and obedience. The posture of our hearts decides whether these two things are done in legalism or love. When I actively and regularly reflect on all that Jesus did for me, the natural response is gratefulness. But it does not stop there. From a grateful heart overflows the natural progression of repentance and then obedience. These are stepping stones to a life full of gratitude and joy, as well as freedom! 
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening - It’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way…
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire. (Hebrews 12:11;28-29 NLT)

Sinful temptations weaken when we practice godly gratitude.
I am a firm believer that godly gratitude is one of our greatest weapons against the flesh. When I focus my mind on all God has done, has saved me from, and is saving me for, the temptation to choose sin significantly loses its grip. There is a reason why we are commanded so many times in the Bible to give thanks; over seventy times in the New Testament alone! It changes everything. So, the next time you find yourself facing strong temptation stop and reflect on all that Christ has done for you. List all that you have to be grateful for in Him. Temptation has a hard time gaining traction in a grateful heart.

Finally, I pray you will keep in mind one last truth. Gratitude is not a feeling or emotion. It is a reasonably obedient choice. Let’s choose wisely!

  Tiffany Layton lives with her husband Lex in Alabama. She graduated with a degree in theology from the University of Mobile in 2011. She now serves on staff at her church leading worship and small groups, and also serves as the church administrator. Tiffany loves fall, coffee, songwriting, and staying organized!
Gratitude habits Praise Seasonal thanksgiving

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