Gratitude, a constant state of thankfulness, is one of the most important characteristics of a believer in Christ. A person who has learned how to be thankful in all circumstances is more likely to experience a greater blessing from God and is on track to become a more mature Christian. There are several important things about gratitude we should take note of based on what the Bible says about it.
The Bible speaks to the importance of gratitude in several passages. Here are a few of them:
- “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.“ – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.“ – Psalm 107:1
- “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.“ – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“ – Philippians 4:6-7
- “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.“ – 2 Corinthians 4:15-16
- “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24
- “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” – Colossians 3:17
These biblical scriptures about gratitude are encouraging, and we can all relate to them in various circumstances. But although we enjoy hearing and reading about gratitude, not all of us truly comprehend its spiritual benefits. Who in the Bible, besides Jesus, may serve as a motivation for us to be grateful regardless of our circumstances?
What are the spiritual benefits of gratitude?
As Christians, we recognize that gratitude is more than an expression of appreciation; it is a spiritual act of worship. It assists us in aligning our thoughts and emotions with God’s will. When we are in His will, we grow closer to Him, knowing His heart and His love for us, which will tame every ounce of pride in our lives, leading to submission and humility.
When we think about our lives and all the things that we have been given, it’s easy to get lost in the details. We may start thinking about everything that we don’t have or wish we had. But when we take the time to be grateful for what we do have, we begin to see how much God has blessed us.
We were created with a purpose, and each day is filled with opportunities for us to live out that purpose. When we learn to focus on what God has given us instead of what he hasn’t (or what he might yet), our lives become richer and fuller than they ever could have been otherwise.
When we read about the lepers from Luke 17 as an example, we find that just one of the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed and healed returned to show their appreciation. Since it is crucial for a Christian to understand how and why God would call something good, may this discussion of the spiritual benefits of gratitude assist you in developing a heart that is overflowing.
In Luke 17, only one out of the ten lepers whom Jesus treated returned to thank him. People tend to forget to be grateful once they have gotten what they prayed for. Now, let us examine the spiritual benefits of gratefulness, and may this inspire you to cultivate a heart that overflows with gratitude for everything that God has given you.
Gratitude is an act of worship
Gratitude is a powerful gift from God, but it also requires humility to be accepted. It must be offered to God through prayer, worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Gratitude requires us to acknowledge our dependence upon God’s grace and mercy. It requires us to recognize that we are not self-sufficient or self-made. Gratitude enables us to see how much better our lives are because of God’s goodness toward us.
Gratitude helps us control our thoughts and emotions
A truly grateful person knows how to retrain their mind to automatically turn to thankfulness rather than whining. It is the practice of seeing and appreciating God’s presence in the present moment rather than trying, battling, and being imprisoned by the urgent.
When our mind adopts the discipline of Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8, through which he taught us to think and focus on “whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and anything praiseworthy to God,” then our faith grows. This can also keep us away from issues like envy and anxiety.
Gratitude draws us closer to God
God made it clear in the Bible that we should be thankful for everything, even the things we don’t want (1 Thessalonians 5:18). But the truth is that this can be the most difficult thing to do when our world comes crashing down. When we are in pain – struggling and burdened – we aren’t always sure how to love God.
Remember, God draws near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), but we become more aware of His presence when we are grateful even when brokenness strikes. We show our love for Him by following His will no matter what happens (1 John 5:3).
Gratitude makes us practice humbleness
Humility is about recognizing our limits as human beings. It means knowing that you’re not perfect and never will be—and admitting it! But it also means acknowledging your successes when they come along (even if they’re small) because those moments show you how far you’ve come. And being grateful for those moments can help build character and keep you focused on what matters most—being grateful for what God has given you.
Who showed gratitude in the Bible?
In our daily lives, we are constantly surrounded by people with different backgrounds and experiences. However, the one thing that we can all relate to is the fact that we have all been through something. Whether it’s a happy or sad life event, these experiences shape who we are and how we view the world around us. Here are some of the remarkable people in the Bible that show gratitude; may they serve as an inspiration for us to remain grateful:
Paul and Silas
Paul and Silas used gratitude, in a form of praise, as a weapon while imprisoned. As a result, the prison doors were opened by the song of thanksgiving (Acts 16).
Daniel could have given up when his life was in danger. He could have said that God was unfair. But Daniel never turned away from God. Daniel bent to pray and thank God three times a day, as he always did. Daniel chose to be thankful even though it was risky (Daniel 6:10).
Even while he was in the stomach of the fish for three days and three nights, Jonah decided to give thanks and worship the Lord. He could have thrown a fit or given up, but while he was in the midst of the situation, he changed his mind and thanked God (Jonah 2). After Jonah’s prayer of thanks, God told the big fish to spit him out on dry land, and Jonah went to preach in Nineveh.
King Solomon had more money than anyone who had ever lived before him. This made him the wealthiest person who had ever lived. In his prayer of dedication for the temple in 1 Kings 8:14-21, he showed how grateful he was to God for all He had done to provide for Israel.
Miriam was the first song leader. While playing the tambourine and dancing with the other women God had rescued from the Egyptians after they crossed the Red Sea, she sang praises to God (Exodus 15:20-21).
Miriam’s dance was not only a form of celebration, but it also represented something else: it was a physical manifestation of praise. Her dance was a way to show her gratitude and give glory to God.
Hannah wanted a child so much that she prayed, cried, and wouldn’t eat because of that longing. In 1 Samuel 2, when God finally answered her prayer, she prayed to God for a long time to thank him for giving her a son. And because of her gratitude, she committed to offering her son, Samuel, to serve the Lord.
The Bible twice called David “a man after God’s own heart.” He had a life of gratitude and was thankful to God for everything He had done for him. According to Psalm 119:164, David praised God seven times each day for His just judgments. God bestowed many blessings upon David as a result of his grateful attitude.
One of the ways that David was blessed because of his thanksgiving lifestyle is that he was victorious over his enemies (1 Samuel 18:6-7). When David went up against Goliath with only a sling and five stones, he knew that victory was from the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47-48). He also defeated Saul’s army when Saul tried to kill him (1 Samuel 18:11-11). Even though Saul had more soldiers than King David, God gave him victory over them.
How did Jesus show gratitude?
Jesus showed others how important it is to have a spiritual life and a connection with God, to work for justice and peace, to be honest, and have moral integrity, and to be humble and grateful. Throughout His ministry, He stayed appreciative. He was grateful for every miracle and answered prayer, as well as the prayers that hadn’t been answered. He was pleased to know that God is fair and in control.
“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
– 1 John 2:6
This is a very important point in our Christian walk. We are called to be like Christ, and this means that we should be grateful in every situation. Although we may not be able to control all things, we can control how we respond when things don’t go our way. We can choose joy instead of anger or bitterness. We can choose love instead of hate or indifference. We can choose gratitude instead of complaining about everything that goes wrong in our lives.
The Gospel stories described the Lord Jesus’ prayer life and His “praise life.” The Man who was familiar with hardship yet has frequently shown gratitude to His Heavenly father.
Here are some of the situations in which Jesus shows that He is full of gratitude:
Jesus was grateful for His food
When He used seven loaves of bread and a few little fish to feed four thousand people, He expressed gratitude (Matthew 15:32–39, Mark 8:1–9). He also expressed thankfulness when He broke five loaves and two fish and served five thousand people (Matthew 14:13–21, Mark 6:31–44). Christ showed thankfulness as He bent His head at the final supper with the disciples (Luke 22:7-23). On the walk to Emmaus, He gave thanks when He was asked to share dinner with the disciples (Luke 24:30).
Think about it. The One who made all the food was thankful for simple food. We should do the same thing when we sit down at the table with our families. Everything on the table is a reminder of the One who made everything for us to enjoy.
Jesus was grateful for answered and unanswered prayers yet
While preparing to raise Lazarus from the dead, Jesus “looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” (John 11:41)
This is the heart of Jesus, the answer is not yet there, but He is already thanking God for it. This is one great example of gratitude that comes with faith. Faith and a grateful spirit are inseparable.
So when we ask God for something, we should remain still even in the midst of brokenness, and let’s be delighted in the fact that God hears us.
Jesus was grateful for God being just when comes to revealing His truth
In Matthew 11:25, Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.”
Does God not want to reveal His truth to all? And was Jesus grateful for this? In the verse above, there are two kinds of persons. The wise and the little children.
The wise persons
They who are considered wise and insightful overestimate their minds. Intelligence leads people to excuse things they don’t like or prefer. This is similar to how a wealthy person might convince themselves they need nothing—not even God. Many self-proclaimed smart men determined Jesus wasn’t the Messiah because he wasn’t what they expected.
It implies that God hides things from arrogant people. He helps people not grasp what they don’t want to. During the Exodus, Pharaoh was allowed to resist God’s will (Exodus 7:22; 8:15, 32) before God hardened his heart (Exodus 9:12; 10:20; 14:8).
The little children
In contrast, God the Father reveals to “little children” what is true. This is often true of actual children, but in Matthew 18:1–5, Jesus speaks more about adults becoming like young children. In Mark 10:14–15, He says something similar about approaching God with the trust of a child: “Let the children come to me; do not impede them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a child shall not enter it, I tell you in truth.”
In the end, gratitude is a choice that each of us must make for ourselves. Whatever comes our way, we always have the option of choosing to be grateful for the things that are going well or for the people in our life, regardless of the circumstances. Because God is a part of our lives, we have many reasons to continue practicing gratitude, and those reasons are more valuable than any difficulties that may strike us.
Ultimately, as believers, we should be thankful for all that God has done in our lives: created us, redeemed us by Jesus Christ, and sustains us by His Spirit through prayer, among many others. We should also always be thankful for the many blessings that come our way: family members and friends who love us tremendously, natural resources like food and water, and opportunities to serve other people no matter how insignificant they may seem in our lives.
When we thank God on a regular basis, we are acknowledging our dependence on Him. When we give praise to God, He always rewards our obedience with abundance and blessings. Therefore, let all of us thank God so that we may experience His kindness, grace, and mercy.