October 20, 2017

Choosing Gratitude: Chapter 4

Welcome to Week 5 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.

Why Choose Gratitude?

1. Gratitude is a matter of obedience. God commands it over and over again throughout both Old and New Testaments. So we must obey!

2. Gratitude draws us close to God. He dwells within a house of praise! And offering praises and thanksgiving to Him carries us into that place where God’s Spirit dwells.

3. Gratitude is a sure path to peace. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, prayer alone is vital and good. But prayer without thanksgiving will not leave us peaceful. Only prayer plus thanksgiving brings true peace. {tweet that!}

“When prayer teams up with gratitude, when we open our eyes wide enough to see God’s mercies even in the midst of our pain, and when we exercise faith and give Him thanks even when we can’t see those mercies, He meets us with His indescribable peace.”

4. Gratitude is a gauge of the heart. Continual thanksgiving is a character trait of the righteous. The more we offer thanks to God, the closer we will grow to Him — and the more it will become a habit of spiritual discipline. And the more it becomes a habit, the more extensive our gratitude will be.

As gratitude becomes a habit, we start giving thanks for everything — not just the obvious blessings like financial provision and good health, but also more challenging things that come from His sovereign hand, like problems that drive us back to Him and trials He brings into our lives for the purpose of teaching others. The more constant our God-ward gratitude becomes, the closer we are drawn to Him.

The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment;
it is the fruit of a thousand choices.”
{tweet that!}

5. Gratitude is the will of God. His will is not some mystical formula or magical solution that we need to search for long and hard. Rather, it includes obeying the clear instructions given in His Word: stay pure, love not the world, confess your sins… and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Could it be any clearer?

6. Gratitude is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit. In other words, it’s like spiritual fruit that proves we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. On the flip side, lack of gratitude — which is manifested by complaining, whining, bickering, and worrying — testifies that we are not being controlled by Him, but rather by our flesh.

7. Gratitude reflects Jesus’ heart. The Gospels depict Christ offering thanksgiving to the Father over and over again: when good things happened, before asking the Father for a miracle, at mealtimes, during times of suffering, and even as part of the Last Supper.

“On a night when from a human perspective He had every reason to be self-absorbed and to give in to self-pity, resentment, or murmuring… He gave Himself to God and to the world, not under coercion, but with abandon and with gratitude, grateful for the privilege of obeying His Father and of fulfilling the mission He had been sent to earth to complete.”

And since we are to be like Him, we ought to give thanks in all things and at all times, even during times of trial and sacrifice.

8. Gratitude gets us ready for heaven. Of all the many things we will enjoy in eternity, one of them is offering never-ending praise to our Creator. Revelation gives us a glimpse of this when it depicts the elders lying prostrate before God’s throne, proclaiming His holiness and power and sovereignty. So when we practice gratitude here on earth, we are practicing for an eternal ensemble of unending gratitude!

“Gratitude is the unending anthem of heaven!”
{tweet that!}

 

Choosing Gratitude Study

 

Now it’s YOUR turn!

  • What did you love in chapter 4? What didn’t you love?
  • Any favorite quotes from this chapter?
  • What was your favorite reason to practice gratitude? (Mine was #4!)
  • What are some other reasons we should be continually thankful?

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. There were many quotes from this chapter that were so good…I have to say that one that struck me in particular was the quote from Beth Moore (pg. 66). Oh, does she have me pegged, especially of late. Another quote, from Nancy, also summed up my recent sorry attitude: “That reaction of fretting, giving in to discouragement, and expressing negative thoughts about pressures and problems, had become my default pattern.” Oh, yes. I am especially appreciative of Nancy’s sharing of herself in this book – it could easily have been a book that points a finger and says ‘YOU are doing this or that wrong and you need to be more thankful.’ Instead, Nancy is right there with us (or at least with me – can’t speak for anyone else!), sharing her heart and helping us with her example. That is encouraging to me.

    I think my favorite reason to practice gratitude is # 1, a matter of obedience. “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving…” (Ps. 50:14)…to me this says that thanksgiving is not always given in good times with hearts and flowers; sometimes thanksgiving is hard to give and must nearly be wrenched from our hearts or mouths. Regardless of our feelings and our sometimes hard circumstances, God deserves our thanks and we do benefit from giving it. How like God to bless us for our sacrificial thanks to Him! May I learn to be so thankful at all times…

    • Giving thanks shouldn’t depend on our emotions, right? So easy to forget that. But we need to obey His command to be thankful whether we “feel like” it or not. And then He promises to bless us for our obedience? What a good God we serve!

  2. This book was amazing. I loved it and look through it quite often as a reminder. Thank you for sharing this great reminder.