Attitude of gratitude: Thanksliving

Philippians-4_6-7

The Verse of the Day for May 5, 2018 reveals that, as believers, we are reminded that the giving of thanks is to be more than an occasional act of gratitude; it is to be an ongoing part of our lives.

Here is the rendering of this celebrated passage in the New Living Translation (NLT):

Philippians 4:6-7

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

In the forthcoming book Not Just a Survivor: More than a Conqueror, I share my holistic strategy developed in response to being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. In discussing some of the components of the soul—the mind, will, and emotions that impacted my response to the diagnosis, I focused on the passage from Philippians 4:6-7 and other related scriptures in this excerpt:

In critical situations where a person may have accidentally ingested a highly toxic substance, the state Poison Control Center, if contacted, can suggest a specific antidote to counteract that poison. In some cases a “universal antidote” is recommended. In the case of some of the toxic emotions previously discussed, another “universal antidote” is recommended to counteract any and all of these negative issues of life. A heavy dose of “thanksgiving” will counter the potentially crippling negative effects of “resentment, guilt, anger, and green-eyed jealousy” along with “fear, envy and strife,” all of which are aggravated by “stubborn rebellion” which generates these toxic emotions.

Every situation offers an opportunity to be thankful, no matter how bright or bleak life may be. If we think about it, we can always find something to be thankful for, if for nothing more than that we are alive or that our situation could be worse. Each time we set our mind to be thankful, we are doing the will of God, which is the innermost desire of every believer. To give thanks is to do the will of God, says 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Feeling disappointed, discouraged, and in despair or having other negative feelings is sometimes described as “stinkin’ thinkin’” which directly affects how we act. One of the critical factors in our physical and emotional well-being is attitude. Chuck Swindoll offers excellent insight regarding this subject:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church… a home.”

“The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

The discussion of attitude comes full circle with this reminder that “attitude begins with gratitude.” J. Rufus Moseley speaks of “an attitude of gratitude and boundless good will.” Thanksgiving is a magnificent and joyful “response-ability”, that is, my ability to respond to God’s love and grace. As a believer, I constantly endeavor to demonstrate my gratitude to God from the fullness of my heart, overflowing with thanks. More than merely occasionally expressing how grateful I am, I desire to maintain a continual “attitude of gratitude,” a lifestyle that some have called “thanksliving.”The essence of my attitude of endless gratitude is expressed in this way:

Thanksliving

What shall we render to the Lord for all

His grace?  What can we say to offer praise

Worthy of His glory?  How can we call

With all our being upon His name and raise

A new song from the depths of our heart?

We must do more than mouth a platitude—

To express the soul in words is an art;

Yet words cannot express our gratitude.

Mere words seem empty and without merit.

“Thank you” too soon becomes a hollow phrase.

So we must worship God with our spirit

And must give thanks well for all of our days.

To live is give thanks with tongue and limb;

With each breath, each move, let us live thanks to Him.

Far more than merely saying “thank you” to God, more than simply tithing or sharing of our abundance or giving of our time or material goods, thanksliving is a way of life, expressing gratitude to God in everything we say and do. It is more than the arrival of Friday (TGIF), for which the workaday world thanks God. We must show how grateful we are with all of our being, “Thank God it’s Sunday through Saturday.” As we do so, we counteract the negative effects of “stinkin’ thinkin’”: thoughts of disappointment, discouragement, despair and any other toxic emotions that seek to keep us from being all that God designed us to be.

We close with this scripture memory song based on Philippians 4:6-7 from Integrity Music

 

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