Gratitude is what causes us to praise and sing to God because He has blessed us with abundance and joy in our heart. (Isaiah 35:10) Being thankful leads to praise and lifts our eyes from focusing on ourselves. It sets our focus on Him; and our refocused gaze on the Lord changes our inner man to be submitted to His call for our lives and fills us with joy.
True joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) Joy comes out of our intimate relationship with the Lord. He alone is Truth.
Worry, anxiety, fear, dread etc. are trusting in a lie achieved by looking at ourselves instead of Him. Our right focus is vital to seeing Truth (Jesus). It allows us to see past how a situation appears and into God’s goodness, and never-failing love. Death to our flesh shouldn’t bring sadness…On the contrary, it allows true joy to be experienced.
God desires that we magnify Him when things are going great AND when things seem NOT so great. Prayer, watchfulness, and thanksgiving are weapons that empower praise, and our staying out of despair. (Colossians 4:2)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
This is the gratitude that starts us on a journey toward strengthening our inner man, whether our situation changes the way our outer man wants…or remains exactly the same. Contrary to human logic, God enables us to rejoice IN our sufferings.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5
Suffering produces perseverance. (Godly character in us)
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
Today, let’s purposefully count our blessings BEFORE Thanksgiving Day. Let’s journal, and declare out loud, everything that we are thankful for. Our hearts will start to burst with gratitude to our triumphant King Jesus, producing sincere Joy…no matter what the circumstances, as we experience Thanksgiving Day—EVERYDAY. Holy Spirit power is being released, Jesus is being revealed and we are being transformed in-Christ.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18