We must thank God. But we must not simply thank God, we must thank Him with a grateful heart. Many mouth or sing words of thanksgiving because they know they must, but their hearts are not grateful. But we can be grateful, indeed we can, irrespective of the circumstance of life we are in, be overwhelmed with gratitude towards God. But how?
The video below gives some powerful keys to developing a grateful heart. It is all related to what you understand about God. Watch the video and don’t miss the article below it.
GRATITUDE IN THE HEART
Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
This passage enjoins us to sing to the Lord with gratitude in our hearts. To sing to God with gratitude in the heart, is to thank Him, to praise and to honour Him. So, thankfulness or thanksgiving is not just saying, “thank You, Lord,” it is having gratitude in your heart.
1. A lifestyle of thanksgiving for a grateful heart
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (HCSB) Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
This passage, and the previous one, clearly demonstrate that first and foremost we mush live our lives unto God. God requires that everything be done, giving thanks. That is powerful. So each person must choose to create a climate of thanksgiving in their lives. As we thank Him daily and live for Him daily, our understanding of His Person grows in us and consequently, we become even more grateful.
When you are about to sleep and when you awake, thank Him. When you are eating, working, whatever you are doing, thank Him and do it for His glory. That is extreme for many people but it is the normal life God has ordained for us to live.
However, this is the scenario for many people, I pray in the morning and I go out and do my stuff during the day just doing my own thing and then I come back in the evening and say, “Oh, Lord, there You are! I almost forgot about You. How are You doing today? Well, Lord, it’s been a good day and I guess You had a good day as well. Now, good night Lord Jesus. God, bless me while I sleep and thank You, Lord.” And that’s what how many of us live. We pray in the morning for those who do, we do our thing during the day and then we’ll come back in the evening and remember that God is there. But what the Scriptures say here is a revolutionary way of living.
2. Deep-seated understanding of the profound goodness of God towards us
The second thing, and this is crucial, is that we must have a deep-seated understanding of the profound goodness of God towards us. Many people thank God only after what I call sporadic encounters with omnipotence. They thank God because some amazing thing just happened. ¨Picture Sylvia “And do you know what happened? Peter asked me to marry him! ” And it’s thank you, Jesus, over and over again.
However, to truly have a grateful heart, our thanksgiving must not be exclusively based on sporadic encounters with omnipotence. It should not be based only on spectacular acts that move us such that we cannot but talk about them. Rather, it should be the fruit of a deep-seated and profound understanding of the intensity and the depth of the goodness of God towards us.
We must see and understand the goodness of God in His overall plan for humanity. There is some point in your life where you must be shaken by the consciousness of how good God is. Despite all our theological knowledge of the attributes and glorious character of God, there is a point when what we know theologically must become an experience that shakes us. It must become an experience that makes us tremble before God; that brings us into a consciousness of the depth of His goodness, such that we cannot stand still.
We are so deeply moved that we do not know what to do with ourselves. We cannot but exclaim ‘God, why are you so good to me?’ Words will fail you. It is as if somebody just opened your eyes to see something that you thought you knew, but are only just now seeing, and it is magnificent beyond your wildest imaginings.
And so you are struck dumb, lost for words, astounded by the immensity of the goodness of God towards you. And you just stammer, “I don’t know, Lord, You are so good, You, You are amazing!” And that is not very eloquent, but sometimes we need to lose our eloquence because we are so captivated by the awesomeness of God and caught up in the consciousness of the fact that this great God loves us and wants to do us good. He has demonstrated such intense goodness towards humanity of which I am a part and for no obvious reason. Yes, we know He is omnipotent. We know He is merciful. We know He is gracious, we know He is kind. We know all that and yet we still cannot fathom it, “Lord, why?” Psalm 8 below, read it through, captures something of that wonder that God would bother with mere humans.
1 Yahweh, our Lord,
how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!
You have covered the heavens with Your majesty.[a]
2 Because of Your adversaries,
You have established a stronghold[b]
from the mouths of children and nursing infants
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I observe Your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You set in place,
4 what is man that You remember him,
the son of man that You look after him?
5 You made him little less than God[c][d]
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him lord over the works of Your hands;
You put everything under his feet:[e]
7 all the sheep and oxen,
as well as the animals in the wild,
8 the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea
that pass through the currents of the seas.
9 Yahweh, our Lord,
how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!
A grateful heart is fuelled by understanding. The psalm says “Yahweh, our Lord. how magnificent is Your name throughout the earth!” How magnificent. And you see when I talk about the consciousness of the depth of the goodness of God, the profound nature of the goodness of God towards us, it goes hand in hand with another revelation which we must have, and that is a revelation of the magnificence of God, the utter splendour and greatness of God, which then makes us so shocked at how good He is to us! Who are we?
The psalmist, awed by the splendour of God declares ‘What is man?’ He marvels at all that God has done to and for man, the honour He has given man. You know, there is a revelation of the absolute awesomeness of God and utter insignificance of humanity that hits you and you cannot help but say, “Lord, why are You so good? Far be it from you at that point to moan and complain about anything, to say, “Lord, well, I’ve been praying, what are You doing? Why haven’t You answered me?” Rather, you say, ” Lord, if You never answered any prayer that I pray from now on, You have already done more than enough!” And indeed He has.
How do we develop a grateful heart? By gaining understanding of the extreme benefits we derive from the relationship with Christ.
3. Full consciousness of the benefits of the relationship with Christ
Col. 3. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
- He died for us while we were still sinners. How well do we understand that?
- We have been made members of the household of faith, but do we understand what that means?
- We have received salvation, something more precious than anything that we are seeking from God.
- reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, redemption, how much do we value these?
We need to live with the consciousness that we have benefited tremendously from this connection with Christ, We are looking for help with the affairs of life. But God has given us a solution to the human condition, and those things must be big in our eyes. Many people overestimate their rent and underestimate their salvation. Too many Christians overestimate the need to be married and underestimate the fact that they have been redeemed, and so their redemption is not cause enough for thanksgiving and the lack of marital status is cause for worry and complaining.
By all means, God will meet every need but what He has given you is infinitely more valuable than anything you may be asking of Him. And you must have that understanding, that consciousness; That is how we develop a grateful heart – living with the revelation that we have received everything that we need for life and godliness, everything, everything. How do we get it?
According to Colossians chapter three, verse 16, the message of Christ must dwell in us; it must saturate us. We meditate on the excellencies of Christ, the beauty of the gospel, the loveliness of Jesus, the wonders of salvation. We think of the fact that we who were far from God, totally aliens to Israel, alien to whatever God was doing in the earth, we have now been brought near! You see the consciousness of all the benefits that we have derived from this relationship with Christ must inhabit us fully, for us to be really thankful, for us to be grateful.
A grateful heart cannot be based only on what we are expecting from God. “I’m going to thank Him because I know that when I thank Him, He will bless me.” No! It must be based on who He is, and our appreciation of what He has done. And when we have that grateful heart then we can also thank Him for what we’re yet to receive.
From the Scripture we see that when the Word dwells in us richly, the outcome is an overflow of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and gratitude to God.
4. Undeservedness of the benefits
There is a thread that has run through all the discussions on how we develop a grateful heart and it is the fact that God is doing us good, in a measure that we do not deserve. To be truly grateful, we must be conscious of our unworthiness. We must be fully persuaded that we have no merit and all is by grace. That is why the psalmist was struck and said ‘what is man?’. He saw the chasm between the greatness of God and the smallness of humans and he wondered why God would bother. Why will You care for and elevate such a puny, insignificant creature?
If you are convinced that you deserve no good, and that all you receive is by God’s mercy and goodness, you will have a grateful heart. You will not moan or complain. You will realise that you already have an extremely good deal.
Those are four simple keys to developing a grateful heart.
I pray for someone today. I pray that revelation of the goodness of God will flood your being. I pray that you will have an understanding of the awesomeness of the works of Christ on your behalf; that you may overflow with thanksgiving; that your heart may well up in gratitude continually towards the Lord God. May you be a thankful person.