4 Ways to Develop a Grateful Heart

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Friend, do you struggle with negativity and discouragement sometimes? If so, did you know that practicing gratitude and developing a grateful heart on purpose can work wonders for your morale?

God desires for us to be thankful.

First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says this:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV).

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    We are to give thanks in all circumstances.

    be encouraged about gratitude in episode 4 of open range with jamie rohrbaugh:

    When we practice gratitude, the very act of giving thanks lifts our eyes off our circumstances and onto the One who knows us best and loves us most. Thanking God in everything lifts our faith, increases our expectations, and keeps all of life in its proper perspective.

    Additionally, developing a thankful heart is essential if you want to be close to God.

    It is offensive to God when we are not thankful.

    Romans 1:21 tells us how He feels about our lack of gratitude:

    “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21 NKJV).

    Notice that this verse discusses people who knew God! It’s not talking about pagan idol-worshippers. It’s not talking about those who have never heard the Gospel.

    Instead, God is saying that people who know God and fail to glorify Him and thank Him become futile and have their hearts darkened.

    I don’t want that to happen to me; do you? And yet, we are probably all guilty from time to time of looking at the negative instead of the positive.

    So we need to practice gratitude. We have to develop a grateful heart on purpose.

    But how can we do that? Here are four ways that really help me develop a thankful and grateful heart:

    1. Practice gratitude by being “extra,” even silly, in your thanksgiving to God.

    When I need an attitude adjustment, sometimes I exaggerate my thanksgiving just to shift my focus to the Lord. For example, I’ll say things like:

    • “Father, thank You for my toes.”
    • “Thank You for my shoes.”
    • “Thank You for my purse.”
    • “Thank You for that freckle on my skin. Thank You that I have skin, Lord. I could be a burn victim somewhere and not even have any skin; or I could be in skin graft surgery right now. I’m not, Lord; I’m healthy and whole; thank You.”
    • “Thank You for the dirt the dog just tracked in on the floor.”
    • “Thank You for that penny I just found in my purse.”
    • “Thank You for that lamp.”
    • “Thank You for air conditioning!”

    And I might go on and on, thanking God for things that seem silly. However …

    Giving “silly thanks” and being “extra” in my gratitude shifts my eyes to Jesus, and soon the offering of thanksgiving becomes more serious.

    For example, silly thanks (which is still essential; even the silly things are gifts from God) might lead to more serious thanks like this:

    • “Thank You for this trouble I’m going through. Thank You for the opportunity to suffer with Jesus.”
    • “Thank You for the vehicles You’ve blessed us with. We may have just gotten a $6,000 repair bill, but thank You that we have a car at all.”
    • “Thank You that I have a job, even when I’m stressed about it. Thank You for allowing me to do what I love–and what You’ve called me to do–for a living. THANK YOU.”
    • “Thank You for my home. Thank You that it’s paid for. Thank You. Even though it’s small, and even though it’s not fancy and I dream of a bigger home one day, THANK YOU for giving me a house at all. I know it truly belongs to You, but You’re blessing me and my family by letting us steward it. Thank You.”

    The fact is, things could always be worse. Even if we’re in a soup line somewhere, we can thank God for free soup. We can always find something for which to be grateful–and we should.

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    2. Keep a journal for your quiet time. Every morning, write “Thank You, Jesus” or something similar underneath the date.

    When you thank God just for the privilege of existing–or even thanking Him for no reason at all–and you do so FIRST, it sets your attitude and mind on Him. It bends your thoughts more toward the positive than the negative. It’s helpful.

    In addition to thanking God in writing as a first priority every day, also remember to honor God by writing down memorials. When special things happen, or you receive a great blessing, write them down in your journal.

    You don’t have to carry your journal around with you everywhere and get it out all the time to do this. You can just make a habit of recording the things each morning that happened the day before. Even if you sit down to pray on Monday and then remember something that happened on Sunday, write down, “Yesterday, God gave me …” and keep a record.

    3. Be thankful to people too. Notice ALL the nice things people do for you–from holding a door open to bringing you coffee. Be sure to say “thank you.”

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done nice things for people–even extraordinary things–and they squealed and loved it, but never bothered to say thank you. I certainly never did anything to “get thanked,” but you can’t help but notice when people don’t bother to express gratitude.

    Also, thanking other people helps you guard against a sense of entitlement.

    Beloved, if you don’t say thank you, ask yourself why? Why didn’t you pause to express gratitude to the person who just carried your groceries, cleaned your house, or repaired your car?

    If you aren’t in the habit of thanking people who bless you, even if you had to pay them for their help, then you may have a sense of entitlement.

    And a sense of entitlement STINKS.

    Note this: The only thing you and I are entitled to is eternal torment in hell. Everything else, including:

    • Salvation in Christ Jesus;
    • Forgiveness of sins by Jesus’ blood;
    • Eternal life;
    • Intimacy with God;
    • Your call in life;
    • Spiritual gifts;
    • Your friends;
    • Your family;
    • Joy;
    • Peace;
    • Motivation;
    • Enthusiasm;
    • Fun opportunities and life experiences;
    • The roof over your head;
    • The clothes on your back;
    • The money in your bank account (even if it’s little);
    • Your vehicles;
    • Your job;
    • Your pets …

    … And on and on and on …

    These things were all given to you and to me by GRACE. God gave us these things, and He didn’t have to. He did it because He loved us. Should we not be grateful?

    The problem is, even if we are grateful to God, we sometimes forget to be grateful to people as well.

    People have helped each of us more than we know:

    Other people have gone before you to pave the way for you to hear the Gospel; for you to have the job you have; for you to enjoy the miraculous provision of God. Other people have worked hard for the things they give you freely. And it was probably their joy and delight to do so.

    However, it’s the right and honorable thing for us to express gratitude to all those people, while we still have the chance.

    4. Feed on God’s faithfulness.

    Sometimes it can be easy to focus on all the pain we encounter in our lives. If we let ourselves, our flesh wants to remember our troubles day and night. Before too long, remembering our troubles and thinking about all the pain we’ve endured will make us downright depressed.

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    But God has an antidote for negativity and depression: Feeding on His faithfulness.

    Psalm 37:3-4 says this:

    “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:3-4 NKJV).

    When you “feed on His faithfulness,” you encourage yourself in the Lord by pointing out to Him all the times He has come through for you.

    For example, when I feed on His faithfulness, I pray something like this:

    • “Father, thank You that You paid me last month and the month before that and the month before that. This isn’t going to be the first month You fail me. Thank You for always coming through for me.”
    • “Father, You see that big bill is due, but we have had big bills due before–and You have always paid them. Forgive me for worrying, Father. Please give me wisdom to follow Your methods, but thank You that You have always been faithful to pay the bills–and You’ll be faithful this time too.”
    • “Father, You see the repair bill we just received for ____. But this item belongs to You, and You have always been faithful to provide for repairs. Thank You that You’ll provide this time as well! You are so faithful.”
    • “Abba, my child is sick, but You are Healer. You have always been faithful to help us and heal us. Thank You in advance for making him well this time too. You are so good, and Your mercies endure forever.”

    When you feed on God’s faithfulness, you replace the starving wants of your heart with the proven fulfillment of God’s promises.

    And it will strengthen you every time.

    Beloved, you can develop a grateful heart if you try. And keeping a grateful heart will help you in so many ways:

    • Your gratitude will help you keep your eyes on Jesus;
    • It will help you maintain a positive, optimistic attitude;
    • It will increase the joy in your heart;
    • Your thankfulness will strengthen you during hard times;
    • It will keep your faith in God, and your expectations for His blessings, up at a high level where they should be;
    • It will ward off a sense of entitlement; and
    • It will help keep you from sinning against God, since He commands us to give thanks in all things.

    Remember again the verse we discussed at the top of this article: “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful …”

    Beloved, it is offensive to God when we are not thankful. It is an insult to Him when we look at all He has done for us, will do for us, and IS doing for us right now–even to the point of putting breath in our lungs–and we are not thankful.

    Won’t you join me today in making gratitude a priority? Will you pray and ask the Lord’s help to remember to give thanks? Then, take the time and go to the trouble to practice gratitude and cultivate a grateful and thankful attitude?

    Everything in your life, relationships, and relationship with God will be better if you do.

    Is Holy Spirit convicting you about practicing gratitude and developing a thankful heart today? If so, leave a comment below!

    8 Comments

    1. Sterling D Marksberry says:

      Hi Jamie, thank you so much for this article. I’ve been missing something and needing something. I think I’ve found it in your article today. Thank you so much for the work you do even behind the scenes.
      Sterling Marksberry

    2. Elizabeth Govender says:

      ABBA, thank you for being with me every moment both in good times and bad times…Thank you for all that you do for me. Thank you , you make me strong by allowing me to go through the storms life..each time you walked with me…Thank you for just being my eternal Father..Thank you for waking me up this morning..Thank you for the breath of life Love ❤ you stacks Father.

    3. Amen, this is excellent I know sometimes I can be ungrateful if things dont work out, this is powerful thanks Jamie for this wonderful word

    4. Mrs. Sherly Dsouza says:

      Thankyou Father God Thankyou Abba Thankyou Jesus Thankyou HolySpirit.i am a child of mostt High God.
      I am nothing without you Abba Father.
      Lord I thankyou most of all for Our Sister Jamie A gift for us in every situation.Thankyou for every member of her team Amen

    5. Okpogbo Mamuyovwi says:

      Thank you ABBA for life,my job,my family,my marriage,my husband….it’s can only be You who has been on our sides
      You have been faithful and am grateful for everything you are doing for me and my household.

    6. Matshepo Seletswane says:

      Thank you so much Jamie for this! It is exactly what I need in this season I am in now. God bless you!

    7. Denise Moore says:

      YES MS Jamie your right, LORD My King 👑🔥, Forgive me for not Thanking you for the lease of things to the Greatest things, throughout my day and Life, YOU ARE my Life My King Jesus, i looked Up to You for everything and help and in Strength and And Providen, with protection, LORD I Thank you, HOLY SPIRIT nug, at my heart for reminding me for everything that My Warrior King has Done in Jesus YESUHA the CHRIST NAME AMEN 🔥👑

    8. Denise Moore says:

      YES MS Jamie your right, LORD My King , Forgive me for not Thanking you for the lease of things to the Greatest things, throughout my day and Life, YOU ARE my Life My King Jesus, i looked Up to You for everything and help and in Strength and And Providen, with protection, LORD I Thank you, HOLY SPIRIT nug, at my heart for reminding me for everything that My Warrior King has Done in Jesus YESUHA the CHRIST NAME AMEN 🔥👑

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