Gratitude is a most overused word while at the same time being a highly underutilized attitude. We live in an age where gratitude is hip and chic. We have gratitude apps and journals, gratitude groups and books filled with gratitude prayers. In a culture where stress is as omnipresent as the air we breathe, many have embraced the concept of gratitude without ever letting it penetrate their hearts. Of course, for Christ-followers, gratitude begins and ends with Jesus Himself.
When someone gives their life in place of yours, saying you feel grateful may be the understatement of the century. Knowing Jesus, although perfect and without sin, took on all our sin so we might stand blameless before a holy God demands more than our gratitude. It demands our lives.
You can’t experience true gratitude until you recognize what God has done for you. You can be thankful for your job, your friends, and your health but until you realize Jesus is the source of all those things, your heart will remain hard to the spiritual realities surrounding you. True joy is found only in Jesus. We were created to glorify and worship Him, and it is only when we are living according to His will and design for our lives that we will be fulfilled and content.
Expressing gratitude is healing to the heart. But if we fail to recognize the source of our gratitude, we will not experience its full effects. Jesus came to heal our wounds, forgive our sins, and lead us in a way of unspeakable joy. No matter how good the things of this earth may appear, they are nothing compared to the majestic love of our Savior and King. If you want to be grateful, be grateful for His love. Meditate on how much He cares for you and how much He has done and continues to do on your behalf.
For what are you grateful? How do those things compare to the love and person of Jesus? I am stunned by the blessings He has poured into my life. I have so much more than I deserve. There are many small things I take for granted every day. I have so much it becomes easy to forget the source of every one of those blessings. No matter how much I might receive, all those things combined fall far short of the beauty and love of Jesus.
Today, be thankful for the blessings of the past year. Express gratitude to those who mean the most to you. Thank God for the blessings surrounding you. But most of all, focus on the love of Jesus. Praise Him for creating you, sustaining you, and being with you every moment of your life. Recognize you are nothing without Him. Everything we think we are is a result of what Christ put inside of us. Most of all, be grateful for eternal life. Left to our own devices this life would be all we have. Thanks to Jesus and His sacrifice we can live forever in the presence of God. If that isn’t worth your gratitude, I don’t know of anything else that ever will be.