The Benefits Of Gratitude
Gratitude takes us forward. While gratitude requires memory (Phil. 1:3), it takes us forward (Phil. 3:13). We reflect on God’s grace in our lives, past and present, and that reflection produces gratitude that takes us forward. A well-funded research project was published by The University of California at Berkeley (no relation). The objective was to discover a non-pharmaceutical treatment for depression. The conclusion: “In our own research, we have zeroed in on one such activity: THE PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE.”
Gratitude has a built-in defensive function. When we fill our minds with blessings and concentrate on how blessed we are, those thoughts point us in the right direction and guard us against distractions, creeping paranoia and bitterness. Isn’t this part of what Paul means? “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8)
Gratitude encourages others. God is the supreme object of our gratitude, but when that mind-set is nurtured and expressed, we become an encouraging voice for others. And, such gratitude that is vertical will naturally produce gratitude that is horizonal. Paul’s gratitude toward God led him to say to the saints at Philippi, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,” and “it was kind of you to share my trouble,” (Phil. 1:3 & 4:14).
Gratitude always takes us to God. He is the source! “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift,” (2 Cor. 9:15). If ingratitude is a step away from God (see Rom. 1:21), gratitude moves us closer to God. Truth Connection: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18