The Reason To Be Thankful
God is good. That’s all. And it is overwhelming.
What Makes God Good?
God’s goodness flows out of His grace. Grace is an overwhelming gift from God. Grace is God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and goodness poured out on us even though we don’t deserve it. Our hearts are darker than any of us want to admit. We do not deserve any of these gifts from God.
God’s grace comes in two forms. In one form grace comes to us out of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the cross. All of God’s mercy, love and forgiveness is poured out on anyone who turns and trusts in Christ. A second form is called common grace. This is God’s goodness to even those who outwardly hate Him. In a simple “aside” thought about His Father, Jesus said, “He Himself is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Lk 6:35). God offers good things even to those who are openly scornful toward Him.
God is overwhelmingly good to you for the most basic reason. He created you and your existence. Just the fact that you have the chance to live, to love, to pursue purposes bigger than yourself, far outweigh the irritants and inconveniences and imperfect circumstances that face you on any day.
Everything good comes into our lives as gifts from God. These gifts – the ones who love us, our own competencies, the beauty in our lives, the time in which we live, our possessions and every other good thing is from our Father in Heaven – because He is so overwhelmingly good. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” God is good. And it is overwhelming. This reality should put us into a non-stop cycle of gratitude to Him.
What You Can Learn From 26 Studies
The practice of gratitude turns out to be a better cause of happiness than any other factor in our lives. I recently saw a review of 26 contemporary research studies done on the effects of gratitude. The accumulation of positive effects was astounding. No other factor – wealth, luxurious possessions, exercise, intelligence, good relationships, career success, good physical health, positive body image or any other factor studied had the powerful effect on happiness and well-being as practicing gratitude.
Therefore, the overwhelming message of contemporary social scientists: Practice gratitude! The ancient message of the Bible, written 2000 years prior to any scientific study: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18). Gratitude makes you well, it heals, and it pours out equal parts of joy and contentment and peace into your soul.
What keeps me from such gratitude? Brennan Manning said that there are two categories of Christian believers in America, and the lines between them are not drawn between doctrines, politics or even worship styles.
“The line of demarcation is drawn between the aware and the unaware. When someone is truly aware of the depth of love with which they are being loved by God—they will become a spontaneously and intensely grateful human being. A non-stop river of gratitude will flow out of their life. It will be the dominant characteristic of their inner life. And a joyful and generous life will be the result.” (Brennan Manning)
“We are not joyful and then become grateful, we are grateful and that makes us joyful.” -Brennan Manning
Here is the most encouraging thing — there is every reason to begin this moment and never stop thanking God. Every reason is actually only one reason.