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 –
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:
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.
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.
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?
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