Being grateful is not something that comes naturally to any of us if we are honest. It is something that must be chosen. But choosing gratitude in sometimes seemingly thankless circumstances feels impossible. The test of gratitude is not easily won, but it is a worthy fight.
It is a matter of faith.
Faith that rises above this life and is firmly planted in the grace of God that is enough for anything we walk through in this life.
“Giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father.” —Ephesians 5:20
Paul encouraged God’s people to give thanks in the name of Jesus. This directive from Paul is an indicator that we cannot have real gratitude without asking for some help. And genuine gratitude is oddly enough shaped by the very things we seek to avoid.
What Gratitude Isn’t.
Genuine gratitude isn’t manufactured in good times. It is formed right in the middle of all the hard places of life.
Genuine gratitude isn’t dependent upon perfect circumstances. It is dependent upon God’s grace and grateful for God’s grace in each and every circumstance.
Genuine gratitude happens when we are tested and prove to be grateful, truly relying on God rather than on anything in this fickle life.
Gratitude is a Test.
Gratitude is a test of our faith, to be overwhelmed with God’s goodness rather than expecting for life to bring us joy in a fallen world.
And gratitude is a test of our will, to see if we will rely on things or on ourselves rather than on God, Who fills us with His perfect joy and gratitude no matter what we go through in this life.
Gratitude is a test of our hope, whether it is fixed on the temporary or the eternal.
Your Test of Gratitude.
Think about what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving. And for what you are not grateful for. Perhaps the very things that bring you pain to reflect on can be the very incubator that God uses as a catalyst to produce genuine gratitude. Do as Paul said. Give thanks for those things you are not grateful for . . . in Jesus’ name. Then watch what God does.