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Gratitude Guards Your Soul

If I could pick only one character trait to grow in myself or in my children it would be gratitude. The more I live the more I see the importance of gratitude in our spiritual lives and in all of our well being. Amy Morin a psychotherapist sorted through scholarly studies on gratitude and wrote a list of “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.” Her research affirms what scriptures teaches about being grateful. Search through the Bible and you will find many reasons to be grateful, here are three...

Gratitude puts God first in our lives.  Being thankful acknowledges God as the source of our blessings. (James 1:17) When you bow your head before a meal and say thanks to God you guard yourself against pride and idolatry.  A heart that lacks gratitude is reoriented around something other than God and it causes the soul to warp. (Romans 1:21) Acknowledging God as the source of all good keeps us from the idolatry of self! This is why God warned the Israelites to remember him when times were good (Deuteronomy 6:10-12) - he was commanding them to be grateful.

Gratitude guards God's gifts for His purposes. If you can thank God for it, then it’s a gift from God, but if you can’t then it’s sin. For example, you can thank God for a meal, but not the fourth piece of pie after it! Sin is taking the blessings of God and using them in a way he did not intend. We can use any of his gifts for sin including: money, sex, influence, power, or people. (Hosea 2:8-9)

Gratitude consecrates the common moment and makes it sacred. Everyday we breathe the air God provides and use the eyesight he empowers and the ears he opens! Yet, it often goes unnoticed. Elizabeth Barret Browning in her poem “Aurora Leigh” writes, “And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes; The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware.” Gratitude opens up the common moment to the divine and acknowledges God’s presence in everything. (Romans 14:6) Giving thanks, acknowledging God's goodness, can transform a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a feast or a conversation into a prayer meeting.

It’s gratitude that makes the moment sacred, so let us give thanks! Let us give thanks for big blessings and small ones. Let us give thanks for great people who bless us and difficult people who remind us to be a blessing. Let us be grateful, looking for things to give thanks for, looking for God and His gifts everywhere.