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The Benefits of Gratitude

by Warren Berkley

“Gratitude,” said G. K. Chesterton, “is the mother of all virtues.”

Higher authorities echo the vital role of gratitude: “In everything give thanks” (1 Thes 5:18) and “enter His gates with thanksgiving” (Psa 100:4). Gratitude does at least three good things.

When directed to God, it places the glory where it should be, in Him. “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor 1:31; Psa 7:17; 92:1-2). In the absence of sincere gratitude to God, one can gradually slip into an ugly moral spiral (Rom 1:21). “A true Christian is a man who never forgets what God has done for him in Christ, and whose whole behavior and activity have their root in the sentiment of gratitude.” (John Baillie)

Further, gratitude is good for our emotional health. The habit of grumbling and complaining comes from and further fuels an inner bitterness that can make you miserable. It is hard to get an angry outburst from a grateful heart filled with joy and praise. “Thankfulness is the air conditioner of the soul. It blows out the stale overheated air and brings cool refreshing breezes to the soul.” (Phil Pringle)

Third, gratitude encourages the people you thank. Expressions of thankfulness lead the recipient to know they have contributed some good to others. Paul was anxious to express his thanks to the Christians in Philippi (Phil 1:3) and Rome (Rom 1:8), but he also took the time to tell the troubled church at Corinth he was thankful to God for them (1 Cor. 1:4). Sharing gratitude is closely tied to the spreading of encouragement.

I challenge you to practice the virtue of gratitude this week. The benefits can be great, both to yourself and others.

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