Today’s passage from Philippians perfectly summarizes everything we’ve been learning the past few weeks. It’s through gratitude that we rejoice in the Lord and keep our minds focused on what is good. We also learned that good can be found even in the bad times, like our trials, our weaknesses, and our moments of despair.
I have one last assignment for you, dearest sisters in Christ, before we finish this Bible study. If you’ve been keeping a gratitude journal up to this point, take some time today to look through the things you wrote. What were some things that you felt grateful for that you used to take for granted? Were there times that you shared your gratitude with others or through acts of kindness? What were some perspectives you gained through finding the gratitude in the bad days? Most importantly, did you remember to thank God for all of it?
My hope for you, ladies, is that you keep writing your gratitude journals every day. If you run out of pages, buy a notebook or a journal from the store. Keep on having an attitude of gratitude beyond the holidays. Include affirmations, but always start by thanking God first and having faith in Him. It’s through my faith in God that I gained the courage and the desire to change my perspective from living a life of anxiety and discontent to one with joy and love. Through having faith, trusting God, and holding onto him always, I am given the strength to press on in the bad times and the joy for when times are good. I pray that your gratitude will always be rooted in your faith. After all, being thankful can’t exist without having someone to thank.
If you ever find yourself at a time when the attitude of gratitude is just not coming to you, come back to these reflections. There is always a time to find gratitude, even after we acknowledge all the negative emotions that come into our lives. As strange as that sounds, we can even be happy during the times we also feel sad or angry or lonely. The happiness I’m talking about isn’t the excited, bounce-around-the-walls kind of happiness a five-year old has. It’s a softer kind, one rooted in hope for better things. It’s not as bright as the sun, but more like the soft glow of a beautiful star or a small fire. Hope comes to you when it doesn’t really make any sense to have it because that’s when you need it most. Through living with gratitude, we cultivate hope, which nurtures our faith and our love.
The passage from Romans says “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” The last passage I’m sharing with you is one you’ve probably heard a lot. I pray that you read this passage with new eyes, no matter how many times you’ve heard it quoted, because gratitude and love go hand in hand. Gratitude is love expressed through kind actions and words. Gratitude is love that finds the good in all things. Gratitude is expressed for a love that lasts forever.
Gratitude, in other words, is rooted in faith, hope, and love.
Today’s featured song is “Every Good Thing” by the Afters. It’s a great song that summarizes everything that we learned. It shows that God is in everything and expresses gratitude for Him in all things.
Stay grateful, dearest sisters in Christ!
1.What are some ways you think you can find gratitude in everything?
2.How can you combine gratitude with the virtues of faith, hope and love?
3.Have you improved on finding ways to be grateful since the beginning of this study? If so, How?