Eight Steps to Thankfulness, Part 2 (Thankfulness #6)- Shades of Grace | Natalie Nichols

Eight Steps to Thankfulness, Part 2 (Thankfulness #6)

Eight Steps to Thankfulness, Part Two

Ipart one of this post, I listed the first four of eight steps we can take that will lead us to a thankful attitude. This is the continuation of that list, beginning with step number five:

5. Help others.

Give your life away. Stop focusing on your puny problems and discontentment. Start focusing on helping others. Jesus said the more you give your life away, the more you find it. The more unselfish you become, the more thankful and joyful you’re going to be. When we help others, we receive far more than we could ever give … and our lives become full to the brim with deep satisfaction and contentment.

What are you doing to help others? How are you giving your life away?

6. Learn to be content.

While imprisoned in Rome, Paul received gifts from Philippian friends. “I rejoice greatly,” he said, but quickly added, “I am not saying this because I am in need…”

Seriously? Not in need? Paul was in jail. Yet he told his friends, “I am amply supplied.”

Paul exercised his spiritual arithmetic skills. He took the equation of suffering (having what you don’t want and wanting what you don’t have) and adjusted his desires in light of Christ’s sufficiency. Christ was more than enough whether Paul was “well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12).

Possessing contentment and a grateful heart doesn’t mean we no longer feel discomfort or misery. It means that in spite of our feelings, in spite of what our natural man wants, we choose to give up temporal longings. We choose to align our desires with our citizenship in Heaven. Our circumstances are very much of this earth, but our longings, our cravings, our values become heavenly oriented.

7. Recount what God has done. Remember

past troubles—and God’s deliverance.

“I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us– yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses” (Psalm 63:7).

Time and again in the Bible God’s people recount the past. They tell of God’s faithful activity in their lives and the lives of their ancestors. This builds gratitude and faith, reminding God’s people that He will be faithful; He will fulfill His promises.

The past three years have been a rough season for me. Consequently, I intentionally review how bad things were for me in the worst years of my illness—how grim, how hopeless, how LONG it was (years that passed one excruciating second after another) before there was even a glimmer of hope, or change, or improvement. Yet, God came through! He did what He said He would do. He was faithful. He had been working all along, as I eventually saw in retrospect. Although things kept getting worse year after year, God was working His master plan—His higher, wiser, plan.

As I review, I’m reassured—what God did then, He will do again. This helps me be grateful. It helps me acknowledge that, although I can’t see it or feel it, God IS working behind the scenes. I can trust Him, rest in Him…and be thankful. I can be content knowing He has my today and my tomorrow in His hands just as much as He had my yesterday.

The Bible instructs us to give thanks for past deliverance. Psalm 107 describes people who were in a bind—some in situations of their own making, others at no fault of their own. Each time God delivered them. After He delivered them, what were they to do?

“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” (v.8)

What are some of the times when God has helped you? What situations has He brought you through? What miracles did He perform? What did you learn about Him and His character?

8. Yield yourself to God’s purpose.

Much of our frustration and discontentment comes from trying to force our lives into accomplishing “our” plan. All the while God is trying to work something much greater. Things keep going “wrong” in our view. All the while, they’re going “right” in God’s view (well, except for our complaining and resistance). But we, like stubborn mules, keep resisting God, trying to ram our plan down His throat. We think we can be our own god and orchestrate our desired future.

Forging ahead with strong-willed determination is only going to lead to more misery. When we acquiesce to God, we experience peace and joy and rest. Why? Because we’re entering into what He’s doing for us.

“Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point” (Romans 4:3, MSG).

Let go of your preconceived notions for your life! Enter into what God is doing for you. It will be a turning point. Yield to His higher, wiser plan. Doing so leads to peace, contentment, thanksgiving, and JOY!

TweetablesMore Tweetables

  • Jesus said the more you give your life away the more you find it. How are you helping others and giving your life away? Click to tweet Tweet
  • How did Paul learn to be content, even when in prison? He exercised spiritual arithmetic… Click to tweet Tweet
  • What has God brought you through? Remembering builds faith, contentment, and gratitude. Click to tweet Tweet
  • Yielding to God’s will leads to peace, joy, and rest. Why? Because we’re entering into what He’s doing for us. Click to tweet Tweet
  • Remembering God’s care in past troubles helps us be content, knowing God has our today & tomorrow in His hands. Click to tweet Tweet





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