An Attitude of Gratitude
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*I have a major concern. I went into Wal-Mart the day after Halloween and noticed that the Christmas decorations were already going up. I was driving through town the other night and noticed all the houses that were displaying their Christmas decorations.
- I told Ladonna we are five years away from Thanksgiving being completely wiped off the calander. She said it's probably gonna happen sooner than that. People want to rush into the beauty of the season, but unfortunately they are also going to rush into the impatience, griping, and frustration that comes with our new version of Christmas. People want to forget the one day we set aside to be thankful.
- People want to forget that one day. Why, because it's so much fun to gripe and complain right? It would be nice if life were the other way around. 364 days a year we get up and celebrate what we are thakful for and then we set one day aside, and call it "grumbling day" and we do all our grumbling on that day. Wouldn't that be great?
- You know few things can change a person's life more dramatically then developing an attitude of gratitude.
- Have you ever heard the phrase, "your attitude affects your altitude"? That's what my dad used to tell me.
- What he meant was that as long as i'm looking at life through God's eyes, it's a beautiful place and I can change the world through my life. An attitude of gratitude not only affects how far you will go in life, but it also determines how much you enjoy the journey.
- It's also a biblical principle.
- Read Col. 3.15-17
- Paul's admonishing is plain; in all you do give thanks to God.
- There are 3 reason's why Paul wants us to develop an attitude of gratitude.
A Heart of Gratitude Has Room For Nothing Else
- Our hearts are the essence of who we are. What I mean is that everything that we are, or are going to be is an overflow from the heart.
- Matt 15.18: "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man."
- Luke 6.45: "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bring forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.
- It's plain to see that our hearts dictate who we are and what we say and do, and gratitude or thanksgiving comes fromt he heart. Your heart also can't share two worlds. It can't be tied to Christ and also dwelling on the world.
- Think about your week. Have you spent more time complaining about things than you have expressing your thanks to God for all that He has done?
- What happens is we let life consume our hearts and that becomes what we dwell on, and it is hard to have an attitude of gratitude when we are dwelling on the world.
- illustrate: I want you to think about the number 7. Picture it in your head. Now quit thinking about the number 7. It's tough. The way to quit thinking about the number 7 is to think about the number 8.
- In our lives sin creeps in and we start to think about it and then we can't stop thinking about it. The only way to stop dwelling on your sin and the sourness that consumes us is to replace it with thoughts of God.
- Someone said, "The most destructive acid in teh world is found in a sour disposition." Someone else said, "whine is made from sour grapes."
- Eph. 4.31 These are the sour grapes that we need to push out of our lives. Look also at Col 3:7-10.
- The Bible commands us to get rid of these things and replace them with godly thoughts a heart after Christ, a heart of gratitiude.
- Life works like this, you will consistently gravitate to the dominant personality in your life. If you live with someone who is bitter, you become bitter. Rarely if ever, does it work the other way. So you see the key is to become the dominant personality with thankfulness, joy.
- This same principle is at work in us: the dominant feelings in our heart win. Your heart will either be full of anger, biterness, wrath, or it will be full of joy, thanksgiving, love.
It Is Impossible To Be Thankful and Anxious At The Same Time
- I've realized something. As great as this time is with all it's technology, ease, power, speed, etc. It's really a hectic time.
- However, despite this world we must learn to cast off the anxiety, because that comes from Satan.
- You cannot have a heart of gratitude if you are constantly worried and anxious.
- Matt 6.25-34
- illustrate Martin Luther wrote that the best preacher he ever knew was a tame little robin. Every evening Luther would put some bird seed on the window sill and the bird would come and eat a little, fly away sing praise to God, tuck his head and fall asleep not even worrying about tomorrow.
- I know it's hard to function without worrying, but Jesus has asked us to cast our cares on him. Until you can learn to cast your anxiety onto him, it will be impossible for you to really be thankful in your heart.
Your Outlook Determines Your Outcome
- I read that there are two birds prominent in the California desert. The vulture and the hummingbird.
- The vulture looks for the dead, rotting, decaying meat of animals. The vulture thrives on the misery of other animals.
- The hummingbird looks for the tiny blossoms of the cactus flower. The hummingbird thrives on what is living and growing.
- Amazingly, each bird finds what it is looking for.
- What are you looking for? Or maybe the better question is, what are you finding?
- What you are finding points to what your looking for.
- Are you finding a relationship with Christ that is frustrated, well, i'll submit your finding that not because of anything Jesus has done but because of your attitude.
- Are you finding a relationship that is full of joy and everyday you wake up with a heart of thanksgiving to God? That's also because of your attitude.
- The more I grow an attitude of gratitude with Christ, the more I will discover about Him and the more I will be thankful for.
- We now know the reasons for developing an attitude of gratitude, but the question remains, how?
- G - give yourself to others. Start serving instead of expecting to be served.
- R - Reflect on God's goodness. Everyday, in every way, find something that points to God's goodness.
- O - Overcome discouragement through praise. The best weapon against discouragement is praise and thanksgiving. illustrate the car that was wrecked and the guy said, I don't know why you want your car to be wrecked.
- W - Walk in light of God's sovereignty. Everything we have and everything we are needs to come from Him.
- It may be human nature to gripe and complain, but remember, if you are in Christ you are a new creation, the old has gone, behold, all things are new. 2 Cor 5.17.
- As a follower of Jesus your attitude should be one of gratitude.
- That kind of attitude will change my disposition, and willd raw myself and others to Jesus.