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“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thess 5:16:18

 

Gratitude is an attitude of the heart. It is developed through consistent choices and heart responses that reflect thankfulness in all circumstances. Gratitude is a Biblical characteristic that, when part of the foundation of our lives, grows us into spiritual maturity.

Below are four incredible benefits that a heart of gratitude positions you to receive:

  1.  To see the impossible become possible 

A grateful heart is positioned to receive the miraculous transformation of seemingly impossible circumstances (Acts 16, John 11:41). Acts 16 reveals the power of gratitude, thanksgiving and praise in the midst of hardship and persecution.

Paul and Silas endured persecution when they preached the gospel to the people of Philippi. They were beaten and imprisoned by people who were threatened by the power of deliverance their message carried. Yet in the midst of persecution, pain, captivity and injustice, Paul and Silas did not complain or speak out of fear. Instead, they let gratitude and praise for God pour out of their hearts in prayer and songs of worship. This unlocked the miraculous:

Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” (Acts 16:26).

Freedom came supernaturally through a heart that could praise God in all circumstances. Paul and Silas demonstrated relentless gratitude. Their hearts were intentionally focused on God and His goodness. I believe Paul and Silas saw hardship as an opportunity to monitor their own hearts, bring conflicting emotion into submission and give thanks to the Lord in all things.

“A grateful heart is positioned to receive the miraculous transformation of seemingly impossible circumstances.”

2. To receive the promises of God

Gratitude is not only a life-changing virtue, but also a legacy-changing virtue that positions us to inherit the promises of God.

We must realise that the promises of spiritual blessings in Christ are for us and generations after us. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:39).

What we receive will also touch our children and those connected to us for generations to come. God does not intend for what He has blessed us with to stop in our lives. He is eternal and what He gives can be passed from one generation to the next, like a spiritual inheritance. We see this symbolically throughout the genealogical patterns of the Old Testament.

When the Apostle Paul writes about the promises of spiritual blessing, he expresses words of praise and thanksgiving to God in response. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph 1:3).

There is a connection between having a grateful heart and accessing the promises of God. Every blessing we could possibly need has been made available to us in the heavens, and gratitude is a key to unlocking it.

“Every blessing we could possibly need has been made available to us in the heavens, and gratitude is a key to unlocking it.”

3. To enter our spiritual destiny 

A grateful heart is a critical key to entering into our spiritual destiny. Consider the Israelites in the wilderness. Their 11-day journey took them 40 years because of an attitude of ungratefulness (Num 13).

Discontentment and the temptation to complain crop up when we are more focused on a problem than we are on God. A complaining spirit and a mentality of fear wanted to pull the Israelites back into bondage.

When Moses sent out 12 men to spy out the Promised Land, they came back with conflicting reports. Ten spies reported from a perspective of fear and negativity, saying that the land “is one that devours those who live there” (Num 13:32).  Their negative reports empowered complaint and fear.

Joshua and Caleb had seen the very same land and the very same people. Yet they reported the land as exceedingly good. The extremely different perspectives came from a heart filled with gratitude as opposed to complaint. They encouraged the Israelites to take hold of God’s promise and “go now and take possession of the land” (Num 13:30). They saw the land through the perspective of God’s faithfulness.

God had just delivered the Israelites from slavery, sparing no miraculous means in fulfilling their every need. They could have defeated doubt with gratitude, yet they gave in to complaint and ungratefulness and quickly forgot God’s provision.

“But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.” (Num 14:24). The  promise was for all of them, yet only two carried a spirit that would allow them to enter into the Promised Land, claim their spiritual destiny and connect generations to a new spiritual legacy.

4. Maintaining Healthy Relationships 

A posture of gratitude is crucial to maintaining an intimate relationship with God and those we are called to walk with.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4).

A grateful heart overflows with thanksgiving and praise.  This scripture reveals a direct connection between these characteristics and intimacy with God (Psalm 100:4). When we offer heartfelt thanksgiving to God for all He has done, the Word says, “we enter into His gates”. This is incredible but it doesn’t stop there. We enter a deeper place of fellowship with God, “into His courts”, when we offer Him praise. Because thanksgiving is a response to what God has done for us, whereas praise is a response to who He is. Praise overflows when we become aware of God’s character, His very nature and His heart for us. Gratitude opens your heart to the progressive revelation knowledge of who God is.

In the words of A. W. Tozer: “It is simply not enough to know about God. We must know God in increasing levels of intimacy that lifts us up above all reason and into the world of adoration, praise and worship.”

To walk in a place of deeper fellowship with God and in unity with our partners in destiny, we must become a people marked by gratitude.

Pastors Brian and Lynne Heath have been married for 40 years and served as the senior leaders of City Builders Church (formerly COC) at Sale, in the heart of Gippsland, for the past 27 years.

Brian is one of the longest serving pastors in the Gippsland region and has become a true father to many spiritual sons and daughters and a valued mentor to younger ministers and community leaders.

Brian has a strong prophetic dimension to his life and carries the apostolic grace to build strong churches and to teach, train, impart and prepare the Church for the last day’s harvest. Brian believes the church of the future will not only carry the grace to win souls, but to impact and influence every domain of society.

Brian is also part of an apostolic team that travels regionally and throughout the Pacific. He is also working with ministry partners to build an alliance of like-minded ministries, churches, individuals and organisations that desire to rediscover and rebuild the Christian foundations that this great nation was built upon.