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Perception Affects Our Gratitude

{Colossians 2:6-7; ESV}
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Consider for a moment what Erwin McManus wrote in Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul:
Perspective is not shaped in a vacuum; it is formed in the context of gratitude. An ungrateful person sees the glass as half-empty and wonders who is holding out on him. The grateful see the glass as half-full knowing that someone has shared with them more than they deserve. (p. 124)

Gratitude plays such a huge part in the perspective we have on life. When we are grateful not only will we be content with much less, but we also have a very optimistic outlook. Contentment, peace, and hope are characteristics which define a person who is grateful.

It is hard to be grateful when the life you are living isn’t the life that you want.  That is basically the story of my life.  So much of my life has been wasted because I have been dissatisfied with my life, and I was angry with God for not giving me the life that I wanted to live.  The question being asked in my heart was, “Why is God holding out on me?”

It is hard to live life when you want a different life: different experiences, different friends, different talents, different opportunities, and a different personality.  You think life would be so much better if you had the life of someone else.

For me this has been one the many obstacles that I have to overcome in my journey to become the person God created me to be.  The thing is it is an obstacle I have faced more than once.  Like most temptations and sins that we face, this feeling of discontentment is one that keeps popping up in my life.  Why do I have  to struggle so hard to do what comes so naturally to others? It would be so much easier if I was... and other similar questions haunt my thoughts.

The problem with this thinking is that it ignores what God has done for me, and in the process it distracts me from living the life God created me to live.  Gratitude for the blessings, experiences, and talents God has given me provides me with peace and assurance that I need to live the life God has planned for me to live.

Consider what the apostle Paul wrote about the result of the grateful heart:
6 Never worry about anything, but in every situation let your petitions be made known to God in prayers and requests, with thanksgiving. 7 Then God's peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7; ISV)

God’s peace is given to those who are grateful.  Worry, fear, and loneliness are some of the feelings the consume the hearts of the ungrateful.  God has given each one of us so much.  It is time for us to stop focusing on what we don’t have and start thanking God for what we do have.  Then, and only then, do we experience the peace that God has promised to His children.

Point to Ponder: When we are grateful not only will we be content with much less, but we also have a very optimistic outlook.
Passage to Remember: Philippians 4:6-7
Question to Consider: What are some of the things you are grateful for in your life?

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