November 21, 2017

Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 3

Welcome to Week 4 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 the Introduction for more details.

No Thanks

“Ingratitude is not always a calloused, who-cares shrugging of the shoulders. Sometimes it’s just fourth or fifth on a list we never get around to following through on.”

We don’t usually purposely choose to be ungrateful. Rather, it sneaks up on us as we forget to make gratitude a priority, and gradually becomes a habit as we passively let it happen.

Even worse, this passive habit of ingratitude leads to a whole laundry list of sins. Romans 1, a chapter that lists all kinds of wickedness and perversions prevalent in our world today, pinpoints ingratitude as the foundation for those perversions:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

What leads to darkened hearts and futile thinking? What leads to all-out rejection of God? According to this verse, it’s ingratitude. Continually refusing to give thanks to God leads to an eventual downward spiral of depravity. In Nancy’s words: Ingratitude is the first step away from God. {tweet this!}

Why?

Refusing to give thanks — or even merely neglecting it — seems like such a harmless little thing, something on par with a “little white lie” or a fake smile. But an “attitude of ingratitude” actually leads directly to a host of other destructive attitudes, that tear down and destroy everyone in their path. Attitudes like unrealistic expectations, comparison games, forgetfulness of God’s provision, and blindness to God’s grace.

Ingratitude teaches us to forget what God’s done in the past, reject what God is doing now, and scorn what God will do in the future. It teaches us to expect more, and be content with less. {tweet that!}

That’s why Scripture speaks so clearly about being thankful, and rejoicing in everything, and praising our God for the good things He provides. That’s why it tells us to remember all his benefits.

Nancy shares a powerful story at the end of the chapter, which includes this painful observation from an Indian pastor about American Christians:

You have no idea how much you have,
and yet you always complain.

True of Americans? Definitely, yes. True of Christians? Sadly, also yes.

True of you???

Choosing Gratitude Study

 

 

Now it’s YOUR turn!

  • What did you love in chapter 3? What didn’t you love?
  • Nancy lists some destructive attitudes that ingratitude leads to (comparison, entitlement, forgetfulness, etc). What other attitudes would you add to that list?
  • What are some practical ways we can change from a life of “no thanks” to a life of daily gratitude?

Tweet about it! Or send your own tweets using #ChoosingGratitude to share what you’re learning, and invite your friends to join our study!

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.

 

Comments

  1. I think that some other attitudes that ingratitude could lead to are discontentment – not being content with what we have because we aren’t really feeling thankful for it, and selfishness – looking out for “number one” and seeking to get what we do not have that we think would make us content. A practical way that I use to help myself remember the blessings God has given me is to write them down. One thing I did was to write down 5 blessings each day and try not to write down the same ones. That was hard (especially as I really like coffee and wanted to write that one down a LOT!). I’m also following along with the “30 day devotional guide” at the back of “Choosing Gratitude” and today I worked on Day 4, which is making a list of “Gifts from God” and “Gifts from Others.” My ingratitude just smacks me in the face here, as I list things that God has given me and that I have not thanked Him for, and I also see God’s grace in that He has continued to bless me despite my ingratitude. It makes me want to try harder to be more grateful to Him and others, from a sincere heart of thanks.

    • Sandy, I really appreciate your insights from this study! Keeping a “blessings journal” or thankfulness list is definitely one way to counteract ingratitude. It’s something I’ve tried to do every so often, but never seem to be very consistent at! However, it’s worth trying harder, I think.

  2. melindatodd says:

    I’m not doing this study but wanted to chime in. I wonder if it’s the American way, the ungratefulness. We are so abundantly blessed, even when we don’t have much. We went to Haiti last March. I can’t look at America the same way again. We’re so very lucky to have been born here. I am grateful for that but I am more grateful that God allowed me to experience something different to open my eyes. I’ll never be the same.

    • You’re right, we Americans are SO ungrateful! Nancy actually mentions that in this chapter – how we have so much, we’ve gotten used to freedom and plenty, and think we are entitled to keep getting more and more. I think we as Christians can be truly counter-cultural in this area, not by giving everything away and moving to a depressed country, but simply by making a point to be grateful for every.little.thing we have.

      Thanks for chiming in, Melinda!

Trackbacks

  1. […] The Power of Gratitude Chapter 2 – Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude Chapter 3 – No Thanks Chapter 4 – Why Choose Gratitude? Chapter 5 – Of Whiners and Worshipers Chapter […]

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