I came across a quote by Michael J. Fox this week that seemed appropriate given the Thanksgiving holiday:
“With Gratitude, Optimism is Sustainable.”
I also came across another gem of wisdom this week:
“Grace begets gratitude, which, in turn, widens our hearts toward greater goodness and love.” – Diana Butler Bass
Grace is at the core and is the key to a victorious life.
We are saved by Grace – and our lives are sustained through it.
We need moves of grace every day because although Jesus won the victory over the “old humanity,”
…we still have to ”work out our salvation in awe of God, our souls trembling in His presence.” (Philippians 2:12).
We must “stay awake” — (1 Peter 1:5) and “keep our oil lamps full,” and remain watchful (Matthew 25:1-13)
We also have to be intentional about maintaining a grateful perspective because it’s easy to fall into complacency and forget that grace is a gift not to be taken for granted.
Grace and Gratefulness help us to keep from becoming complacent as we are reminded that there still is an enemy to contend with, an enemy that has weapons to hurt us.
Some are overt and violent – but some are more subtle and can go unnoticed.
We must pay attention in order to get beyond responding to the “ fires’ the enemy sets as traps for us and refuse to let them become the things that construct our perspectives and drive our actions.
As we stay tuned in and God-focused, we’ll begin to realize that every morning we wake up is a privilege that offers us a chance for a fresh start and an opportunity to begin again. – to be optimistic about our future – and to enjoy our life in the midst of the journey.
As a bonus, as we stay alert and focused, we’ll discern that some circumstances we find ourselves in are not always the enemies doing.
Some are actually the results of our thoughts and actions.
A grateful approach to life allows the truth to be known without guilt or self-loathing, judgment, or condemnation – and repent if necessary.
Sometimes, God will allow certain circumstances to exist to help mature our Faith.
If faith is to mature, situations need to exist where faith alone can sustain us.
So, for that reason, God will allow times when we must trust in His integrity regardless of how dire things may seem to be.
Negative times – allow faith to arise >> which then appropriates the courage it takes to lock into God’s faithfulness.
Spiritual Maturity requires letting faith arise in the context of resistance.
It takes courage to do this.
It makes sense, then, that one of our enemy’s prime objectives is to DIS-courage us.
If we’re not watchful, our courage will wane and cause unbelief and stagnancy in our spiritual growth.
Faith – is the catalyst that releases Grace.
Grace – is the supernatural power to gain the higher ground over the enemy and thus secure for ourselves our destiny as sons and daughters of God.
Gratitude – is a declaration of our trust in God’s plans and ways for our lives. (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we engage with the world from a place of gratitude, we’re open to receiving the day excited with anticipation of the next part of God’s plan for us.
This approach to life is the difference between carrying the burden of trying to make something happen and allowing something to happen.
It’s the defining difference between effort and effortlessness.
Most spiritual disciplines through the ages have considered gratefulness to be the foundation of joy, contentment, and well-being in a person’s life. Why?
- A person cannot exist in a place of FEAR and TRUE GRATITUDE at the same time.
- Gratitude tunes us into the voice of the Holy Spirit, who is our connection with the Father.
Gratitude and Generosity are similar virtues but differ in that:
Gratitude is an internal characteristic, and generosity is an external expression of our sense of gratitude.
Gratitude is the way we FEEL — Generosity is how we Express that Feeling to the world.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 – Speaks of taking all thoughts captive, so they come in line with Christ’s thoughts.
I like to think of “random thoughts” as Stagnant Energy.
These negative thoughts render spiritual impotence and act as smoke screens of confusion in our minds that cause us to feel stuck in life.
Christ’s thoughts bring peace and hope and give life.
The simple act of practicing gratitude disrupts negative thoughts and changes our mindset to see the world in a positive way.
Not only are we more attractive to others when we live in gratitude, but the most ordinary things can become extraordinary, creating a fuller, more beautiful expression of our life.
You probably have heard the saying, “Things don’t happen TO us; they happen FOR us.”
Gratitude will help us to see and believe that “All things DO work for the good for us because we love God, and are called according to His purpose and plan” ( Rom 8:28)
Our mind’s new perspective is that the universe is aligning and working everything in our favor.
Old Mindset – Something “bad” happens to us; we let it affect us in a negative way. We feel rejected, picked on, and defensive. – Or worse!
New Mindset of Gratitude – When something happens that others see as “bad,” we search for the grace which will allow us to become curious and interested in finding the positive thing God will bring out of the experience.
It’s a much more exciting and hopeful way to live, right?