What is gratitude and how can I practice it every day?
The definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Gratitude makes the world a better place, and when we break it down there are three important truths about gratitude.
- Salvation is the source of gratitude.
Gratitude comes from God and flows to us in all kinds of ways. Every day that we’ve been given is a gift from God to us.Yet even beyond this wondrous gift of life and existence, God wants more for us and all His children. He gave us freedom from sin with the price paid by His son, Jesus Christ, so that we can experience life abundant here on Earth and life everlasting in Heaven. We may live in a broken world, but Jesus alone has the power to heal and provide salvation through the Lord.Sometimes Jesus heals in the moment and sometimes he heals in the journey. He’s teaching us some beautiful truths through it all. God’s desire is that we would bless others with what we’ve been given.
- Gratitude is the source of goodness.
Gratitude makes the world a better place; it makes the world more kind, more loving, and more generous. Everything good comes from the posture of being grateful. Ingratitude tends to make us feel entitled, and the more we think we should get something, the angrier we get when we don’t get that thing. We get disappointed when life doesn’t bring what we thought it would bring us. The less we feel entitled to something the more grateful we will be. When we find ourselves being grateful, we are filled with less fear and more hope.
- Gratitude is the source of happiness.
Is it not happiness that makes us grateful, but it is gratitude that makes us happy. It is easy to admire those who embrace the ugliness in life and choose to see it as an opportunity to learn patience and offer forgiveness.
We need to say yes to salvation, say yes to goodness, say yes to happiness, and say yes to making the world a better place through gratitude, because the world is longing to be a better place.
Sometimes we just need to stop, look, and go. If we stop, we can just slow down. When we look, we can open our eyes and our hearts to the goodness that’s around us. When we go, we can enjoy the reality that God is with us in our journey, encouraging us along the way.
What are you grateful for today? Practicing gratitude and being grateful is something we can do every day.
Pastor Joel K. Johnson, Westwood’s Senior Pastor, explores the topic of gratitude further and illustrates these ideas in his message titled Gratitude: Today is the Day.
Pastor Joel also takes a few moments at the end of his message to reflect on the idea of gratitude in our daily lives by sharing a short film.
The film is called Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg and is accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. This film is powerful and impactful in so many ways. Many see it as a daily reminder to be grateful for the things and people in their lives.
Take a few minutes out of your day today, think of what you are grateful for and enjoy the short film below!
Bible Reading Plan on Gratitude
More Videos on Gratefulness from Westwood: