The role of a parent can sometimes be a thankless job. We sacrifice time, money and resources in an attempt to build our children into godly adults, who, in turn, pass this heritage on to their children. In most cases, however, it is not until our children reach adulthood, are married, and have their own children that they recognize the extent to which we gave unconditionally. Such is the case with the relationship many believers have with their Eternal Father, God.
Thankfulness is to render gratitude, or express thanks for words spoken or actions taken on our behalf. In order to be thankful, however, we must be able to recognize the giver’s favor, gifts or promises on our behalf. The Bible is filled with as many as 30,000 different promises from God to His children. Everyday we receive grace, favor, and the fulfillment of His promises — and yet these often go unnoticed.
Recognizing God’s Blessings
We don’t always recognize His goodness because it is contrary to our will. For example, when it rains on our family reunion, we don’t appreciate His goodness. But when that same rain waters the ground causing food to grow, then we eat it, and we see His goodness.
You may be wondering, “But how can I be thankful for pain and heartache?” God is not asking you to be thankful, but to give thanks. There’s a difference between feeling thankful and giving thanks. One involves trusting our feelings, the other involves trusting God. While our feelings will mislead us, God won’t. Sometimes we have to trust Him through difficult circumstances, recognizing that He is sovereign and in control. Even if we don’t immediately see the fulfillment of His promise, it doesn’t mean we won’t see it fulfilled eventually.
Refusing To Be Satisfied
An ungrateful heart is one that refuses to be satisfied, thereby rejecting both the Giver and the gift. We are warned that ungratefulness is associated with wickedness and is the opposite of loving God. The Bible describes unappreciative people as lovers of themselves and their accomplishments. Such an attitude breeds pride, rebellion, conceit, and a lack of self-control, ultimately causing separation from Christ.
Changing An Ungrateful Heart
Gratitude begins with a tender heart of repentance. To obtain a repentant heart, we may need to ask ourselves how and if we have rejected God and His blessings. Have we said, “This is not enough,” or “This is not what I asked for”? In what areas of our lives have we challenged His goodness, disbelieved His promises, and refused to give glory to Him? Begin to acknowledge who God is and what He has done even when you don’t understand why. Our lack of understanding should never be an excuse not to give thanks. — “Give thanks in all things for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
A heart of gratitude must be cultivated, and can be a sacrifice of time and effort.
It is significant that even Paul said, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content,” (Philippians 4:11). It takes faith to thank God for circumstances that we do not understand. But is it not when we step out in faith that we are rewarded abundantly?
Though we struggle with giving unconditional thanks, God is able to change our stubborn hearts into grateful hearts. By implementing some of the following ideas, our hearts will begin to soften and we will become appreciative women:
Be humble and focused on God.
Be thankful for everyday blessings.
Spend time in the Word of God to learn His promises and how He plans to fulfill them in your life daily.
Always thank God in the midst of adversity and trials.
Record blessings in your Bible or a journal and continually reference them when you encounter difficulty.
Express your gratitude publicly.
Continue God’s cycle by blessing others in the Spirit of Christ.
A grateful spirit and a thankful heart are an integral part of a holy life. The woman who recognizes God’s goodness and is thankful has a heart full of praise that brings joy to the Father and glory to His name. An attitude of gratitude will bring your heart a host of blessings and make you a channel of blessings to others.
Copyright © 2002 Leslie Armstrong. Used with Permission. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.