What if your doctor told you that she had a prescription to give you that would cause you to sleep better at night? And what if she told you that same medicine would create higher levels of contentment and personal happiness in your life? And what if she told you that this prescription would help your interpersonal relationships, your physical health and your sense of self-esteem?
And, what if she told you this medicine was free of charge? You might be interested, eh?
On Sunday morning at First Pres we began a new sermon series entitled #Grateful: Embracing Gratitude as a Way of Life. (if you missed the first message in the series, you can listen to it here). In this series we will look at gratitude as a perspective, a practice, and a choice that we make in light of God’s choice to love us in Jesus Christ. As we studied Ephesians chapter 5 together on Sunday, we saw the description that the Apostle Paul gives of a Spirit-filled Christian. He writes:
“…sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
A Spirit-filled Christian is one who is finding reasons to praise God always. The Spirit-filled Christian is someone who is able to find reason to give thanks right in the midst of his or her trails, pressures, and challenges. The power of gratitude is such that it is a pathway to joy in the midst of a broken and imperfect world. Paul teaches us to deliberately count our blessings always. By training our minds to focus on things that are not right in front of us, we introduce into our hearts the immanent reality of God’s love that lies beyond the immediate reality of our trials.
Many research studies have found there are physical and mental benefits of practicing gratitude. Science has confirmed to us that if we follow the instruction of scripture to give thanks to God in Jesus Christ, not just in the season of Thanksgiving, but always and for everything, we will be healthier people!
Let me invite you to make a personal commitment these next 3 weeks, while we work our way through this study of the Biblical topic of gratitude. Commit to make a short list everyday of things for which you are grateful. Either before you start the day, or during your lunch meal, or during your commute, or whenever you decide is the best time, make it a practice to write down things for which you are thankful to God.
Today is a great day to give thanks! There is much for which to give thanks! So let’s get to it!
Grateful to be finding reasons to be grateful alongside you,