It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.

--Deitrich Bonhoffer

Gratitude makes life rich because it helps us focus on what we have instead of what we lack.  Expressing gratitude is a decision we make to count our blessings instead of our problems. We can learn to be grateful and with God’s help, we can even express gratitude during times of difficulty.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net. 

I learned about gratitude and resourcefulness during my childhood while my parents struggled financially with my dad’s landscaping business. He left the Marine Corp to pursue his love of plants but, after 8 years of back breaking labor, it became extremely difficult to meet even the basic needs for our family.

Then when I was 15, God gave my dad a wonderful job. He was hired by a wholesale nursery to sell plants to retail nurseries. He worked hard and was promoted to sales manager, and eventually he became part owner of a wholesale nursery. The company grew and expanded to sell plants nationwide to Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes. My 2 brothers, my step sister and I all worked for the company at various times.

Those difficult early years taught us many lessons. We became rich in perseverance, hope and gratitude.

Gratitude makes life rich when we don’t take things for granted and appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

We can be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about what we lack. We can be grateful for faith, health, loved ones and friends. We can appreciate and give thanks for a sunrise or the sound of laughter.

Most people express gratitude when they feel happy and things are going well in life. As I write this article, there are almost 10 million posts on Instagram using the hashtag “gratitude.”

I wonder who people are thanking and if they know the One who is worthy of all gratitude.

In fact, gratitude is God’s will for us.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

Gratitude is a habit worth cultivating and biblically mandated for Christians. Believers are called to an even higher standard that seems counterintuitive, which is to practice gratitude even during times of suffering.

Gratitude is a mindset and a choice. We glorify God as we thank Him for all He has given to us including our salvation.

Gratitude benefits us because it helps us to defeat negative habits such as: jealousy, comparison, complaining, bitterness, discouragement and depression. In addition, it is a powerful witness to unbelievers of our faith and trust in God.

Gratitude can foster joy, peace and contentment.

So how can believer’s express gratitude that makes life rich; especially during times of pain and difficulty?

The answer is to look for the blessings. It may not be easy, but in most circumstances, there is usually something for which we can give thanks.

Usually when I’m not grateful it’s because I am complaining. When this happens, I ask God to forgive me and for His help to break this habit and express gratitude instead.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16 (NIV)

I have found that I need the help of the Holy Spirit, to change me as I submit to Him and resist the temptation to complain.

God has been working in my life to change my habit of complaining to gratitude over the past few years.

I started using a gratitude journal to help me focus on my blessings as explained in this article here.  Making daily entries of things to be grateful for is training my mind to develop a habit of gratitude.

What about you? Has life become rich because of gratitude?

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