May 6, 2022
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT
You hear quite often in Christian circles about praying for God’s will. The impression is that God’s will is elusive and hard to figure out. We are often simply concerned with what we think are the “big things,” like who to marry, where to live, how many children to have, what job to take, and such. Truth is, God gives us a wide berth on most of those decisions. He wants us to stay within the general principles of love like Jesus, godly character, and the specifics are ours to choose.
But as far as most of life, He has already made His will quite plain. Here we are instructed to always be joyful, never stop praying, and be thankful in all circumstances. Then the instruction is underscored by this statement: “for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” It is God’s will for us because He loves us so much and values our relationships. He knows the impact this behavior with have on our relationships.
Science regularly affirms the wisdom of God’s counsel. The impact of regularly expressing gratitude is massive:
People who express gratitude tend to live longer.
People who express gratitude are happier and avoid depression.
People who express gratitude to their partners/family members have better communication overall and have more authentic relationships.
People who express gratitude are happier for others and do fewer social comparisons because they find much in their own lives to applaud.
Expressing gratitude reduces stress, increases psychological health and coping mechanisms, and fosters resiliency.
All of these factors contribute immensely to build better and more satisfying relationships. They all hinge on our expectations. We don’t need to focus on getting our expectations satisfied. We can live in gratitude and release our need fulfillment to Jesus. “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT
If you focus on expectations, you will end up empty. If you focus on gratitude, you will be gifted with joy and satisfaction. When you are tempted to complain, choose to express gratitude instead. God will never be in debt to you if you do.
- What’s good and deserving of gratitude in your world today? Thank God and thank someone in your world.