July 27, 2017

Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 1

Welcome to Week 2 of the Choosing Gratitude study! If you’re not sure what this is all about, we’re studying through Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. See last week’s Introduction for more details.

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude is not an option. It’s not simply saying thank you. It’s not writing thank-you notes or verbally appreciating what people do for you. It’s so much more than that —

There’s a world of difference between being able to say ‘thank you’ —
and actually having a thankful heart. {tweet this}

Gratitude is not an option! It is a critical part of the Christian life. It enables faithfulness, Christlike love, joyfulness, and every other virtue that we are to “put on” as believers. The author quotes a British theologian, John Henry Jowett:

Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed
and limps along the spiritual road. {tweet this}

No, gratitude is not an option — for we cannot grow without it. We cannot add all these virtues to our faith, without it there to smooth the way.  We cannot give of ourselves to others, without having it there to give us joy in the giving.

Gratitude is like the foundation of our Christian life: it underlies and strengthens everything that is built upon it. Without that foundation, you will struggle and fall and probably be very unattractive in your spirit. As the author says, an ungrateful person will seem “hollow, hard-edged, and uninviting to others” — whereas a grateful person will be life-giving, like “a breath of fresh air in a world contaminated by bitterness and discontentment.”

Gratitude is life-giving and life-sustaining. Don’t you want a virtue like that?

But then we get to the detail of actually choosing that virtue on a regular, daily basis. Choosing to turn gratitude into a lifestyle rather than just a few thank-you notes along the way. This is where it gets painful and challenging — choosing how you will respond to everyday life.

In order to build a lifestyle of gratitude, you must choose thankfulness in every single situation! When pleasant situations flow like honey, you must choose to give thanks rather than simply accept things as your due. When troubling situations trip you up, you must choose to give thanks rather than complain or wallow in self-pity.

I can whine — or — I can worship.
And I can’t worship without giving thanks. {tweet this}

It really is an either/or choice! You can choose to give thanks, or choose to complain. Choose to worship, or choose to whine. Choose the joy of gratitude, or choose the unpleasant ugliness of unthankfulness. That is the choice which solidifies just why gratitude is not an option.

 

Choosing Gratitude Study

Now it’s YOUR turn!

  • What did you love in chapter 1? What didn’t you love?
  • Do you think gratitude is a necessary virtue? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think the author distinguishes between “everyday” gratitude and “Christian” gratitude?
  • What do you think is the true “power” of gratitude?

As always, feel free to share your own blog posts about the book in the comment section here! Please include the graphic in your post, with a link back to this blog.

Tweet about it! Use the hashtags #CGS or #ChoosingGratitude to invite your friends to join our study!


Comments

  1. I’ve read this book before, and I’m not reading along, but I am reading your posts. Praise or pouting. Thankfulness or worship-less-ness. Sobering.

  2. Hi, Stopping in from Whimsical Wednesday. Not familiar with this book, new here. But I’m huge on gratitude. It is a number one priority in my book. Blessings

  3. I think that gratitude is a necessary virtue, as it helps us to keep our minds focused on the object of our gratitude – God. It is too easy to take our minds off of God, especially when things are going wrong or we are in the midst of a trial or troubles, which, in our fallen world, is a daily or near-daily way of life for a good many of us. If we cultivate and nurture a grateful spirit we will have that perhaps as our first response, or default response, and, thus, keep God ever before us. I think in our hurry-up world we do better to take our time, think on things, recall and/or meditate on Scripture that is particularly speaking to our situation or circumstance, and remember what God has done for us, starting with loving us first and sending Christ to redeem us for Himself. I need to be very mindful of this, especially as of late as I have not been feeling very grateful to God; I have much for which to be grateful to God, even my very breath!

    • I think you’re right, Sandy. Gratitude does tend to keep us more focused on the Giver of those gifts (God) and less on the recipient (ourselves). It takes time and focus, but it’s worth slowing down to make it a habit!

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