It’s been a long time since I’ve done a word study here on the blog. So long in fact, I had to go back to see when the last one was and what word I studied. Oddly enough, that word was “pain.” In that post, I make this statement:
The pains of this life are temporary. We must live with them with eternity in mind.
Pain is going to change your life. Make it for the better.
I know that without explanation, the correlation between a word study on pain and one on gratitude is a bit of a stretch, but pain is something I live with most every day. And if there is one lesson I have learned through that, it is that cultivating a grateful heart is one of the most important things I can do.
So let’s get started learning more about what it means to be grateful, according to the Word of God. If you’re unsure of what I mean when I say “word study” there is an explanation in this post about attentiveness.
Our word for study is GRATEFUL
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
GRA’TEFUL, adjective [from Latin gratus. See Grace.]
1. Having a due sense of benefits; kindly disposed towards one from whom a favor has been received; willing to acknowledge and repay benefits; as a grateful heart.
Sense: The faculty of the soul by which it perceives external objects by means of impressions made on certain organs of the body.
Benefit: An act of kindness; a favor conferred.
Kindly: With good will; with a disposition to make others happy or to oblige; benevolently; favorably.
Disposed: Set in order; arranged; placed; adjusted; applied; bestowed; inclined.
Favor: Kind regard; kindness; countenance; propitious aspect; friendly disposition.
Acknowledge: To own, avow or admit to be true, by a declaration of assent
Repay: To pay back; to refund
Grateful in My Own Words
To be grateful is not only to realize and outwardly declare that one has been granted a kindness or favor out of another’s good will, but gratefulness also describes the willingness to do the same for another.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:7)
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17).
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2)
For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD. (Proverb 8:35)
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
Two of the first words we teach our children as they begin to talk are “thank you.” We teach these words in much the same way we teach all others — my modeling them. When our young children hear us saying “thank you” to them and others, they quickly figure out that they should speak these words when they receive something– a snack, a toy, a book.
As we mature saying “thank you” is just the tip of the iceberg where gratefulness is concerned. In learning more about what it truly means to have gratitude, we come to understand that gratitude is both designed and required by God. And it requires more than a 2-word phrase in return.
Gratefulness begins with the acknowledgement of James 1:7:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
And it ends with Luke 6:38:
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
Instead of just saying “thank you” for the gift of a cookie, we are putting our “thank you” into action by remembering that ultimately all gifts — big and little — come from God. And because of the example He gave us in Christ Jesus, we give to others. And as a bonus for our obedience, the more we give, the more we receive back.
Gratefulness truly is the gift that keeps on giving. But more than that, it is an act of worship, in obedience to the One from whom all gifts come.
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If you liked this article, you might enjoy downloading my Grateful Journal 2016.