An Attitude of Gratitude
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you!
1 Corinthians 4:8
Comparison kills a thankful heart. Far too often, we look around at what others have, and discouragement creeps into our hearts. Gradually (or not so gradually), discontent takes over, and complaints spill out of our mouths. Comparison convinces us that whatever we have isn’t enough. Raises, bonuses, and windfalls of any kind only satisfy for a moment, and we quickly revert back to demanding more and more. Chasing the dream sounds exciting, but it can lead to a hardened heart.
Instead, Paul reminds the believers in Corinth that God had already poured out His riches of grace on them. They had gone from condemned prisoners to beloved children of the King! They had been spiritual prisoners and now they were rich beyond measure in God’s blessings. They had been lost and impotent, wandering through life without hope, but now they “reigned as kings.”
Each of us look in a mirror every day, either the mirror of earthly success and approval, which tells us we never have enough, or the mirror of God’s grace and truth, which says we’re already rich. Which one do you believe?
The more gratitude you express, the more you will experience to have gratitude.
Learning to be content wherever God has placed you in life and content with whatever God has given you is truly a place of peace and joy. When we learn to trust God’s love and grace over our lives, we can rest knowing that He knows every need, He knows every desire of our hearts and He is always blessing us in many ways with many things. As Paul was writing to the Christians at Corinth, he was reminding them that those who have Christ have essentially everything. When God gave His Son, He gave heaven’s best and those who possess Christ and are possessed by Him are truly rich.
Peter in 2 Peter 1 tells us that God has given-not will give but has given- everything we will ever need.
“For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has bestowed on us His precious and magnificent promises [of inexpressible value], so that by them you may escape from the immoral freedom that is in the world because of disreputable desire, and become sharers of the divine nature.”
2 Peter 1:3-4
The definition of rich is the state of having an abundance. That describes our status as believers. We who had nothing, who were dead in sins, have been given eternal life and that in itself is more than enough. Yet the same God who gave us such a priceless gift has further bestowed on us numerous gifts. Most of us, if we took a moment to do so, could count innumerable blessings almost on a daily basis that God grants us.
It’s so easy to focus with what’s wrong or what we lack. It’s easy to be so attentive to our struggles and our needs. These things literally scream for our attention. It’s also just as easy to go through life taking all the blessings, protection, and provision that God provides for granted until we hit a rough patch. Once we are in a crisis that consumes our attention it’s easy to forget all that God has done. In the Old Testament we read the history of the people of Israel and we find this very thing happening again and again. When things were going well, they forgot God and often began to worship idols from other nations. One could say that when life was good they forgot where their blessings had come from. On other occasions they also forgot the many ways God had blessed them. For instance, when they came to the Red Sea, they forgot about how God had brought them out of Egypt and slavery. After God opened up the Red Sea and they were saved from the Egyptians, they forgot that blessing when they became thirsty. Again and again, God provided for them and again and again they forgot how God had blessed them.
That’s us. We forget how God brought us out of sin. We forget the many ways He blesses us. We take lightly sometimes the very fact that God has prepared heaven for us and intends for us to inhabit it with us. As Paul reminded the Corinthians, we are truly blessed, rich beyond measure as the children of God.
Today why don’t we try what a little song says, “Count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
Dr. John Thompson