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A Grateful Heart

God doesn’t need our praise or thanksgiving to encourage Him; He doesn’t get discouraged. He doesn’t need it to feed His ego; He’s not proud. Praise and thanksgiving are not for His benefit, but for ours.

What is the purpose of praise or thanksgiving? It causes us to learn more about God—His nature, what He can do. We realize His greatness and our frailty. It gets our eyes off ourselves and our insufficiency and our circumstances, and focuses our eyes on Him and His all sufficiency. Thanking God for all the trials and tribulations we have gone through causes us to acknowledge our dependence on Him. When we thank God for the good and the bad, we acknowledge that God is in control of all things and He is in all things that happen to us.

What are the benefits of praise and thanksgiving? Humility and a grateful heart go hand in hand, and God blesses the humble in heart. In humility we receive mercy and forgiveness. God gives grace to the humble (and resists the proud). Thanksgiving brings us into the presence of God and that is where are prayers are answered. The grateful heart finds joy and gladness. It doesn't matter what our circumstances are, the moment we begin to thank God we begin to change. Praise weans us away from self-centeredness. It drives out fear, depression and other negative emotions. And praise make the devil flee!

How can we learn to be more grateful? Besides counting our blessings, we can praise the Lord as we read the scriptures and learn more about Him. When I started doing this, I learned so much more about God, not only His nature and what He does, but how He feels toward me and what He wants to do for me. When God becomes more personal we become more grateful. You cannot praise someone you do not know very well.

Scriptures to Ponder: Matthew 11:29; James 4:6; Matthew 6:33; Psalm 138:2; Psalm 139:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Luke 18:13,14; James 4:6; Psalm

100:2,4-5; Hebrews 4:16

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