Take 5, week 1 - The Power of Gratitude
One thing that I didn't get to explore due to time on Sunday morning was James 1:2-4, which reads,
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
Looking at this passage in the light of gratitude showed me how we can develop resilience in the face of hardship or struggles. We need to put it in the context of our lives, and also in the even larger context of God's plans. James tells us to "COUNT" trials as joy. Which means that it is a deliberate action that we need to take. But what should we be counting? I believe that we count the good that is happening in our lives, which as mentioned yesterday is the very definition of gratitude!
GRATITUDE is an acknowledgement that we have received something of value.
Gratitude gives us a new perspective on what we are going through. We don't have to get locked into a mindset of negativity, but we get to rise above it and see God's work in us take full effect!
One of the things that Bec and I discovered while dating was that we used to discuss a lot of issues and challenges we were encountering in our work in the church. As a result of those discussions we were finding that often we would hit a bit of a wall and get frustrated that there was nothing we could do about it. At the same time I did not like leaving things there and would keep trying to work past that blockage and find a solution, which led to an atmosphere of frustration, and sometimes anger. So we learned that this practice wasn't healthy. And what we would do is if we noticed that what we were discussing had reached a point where there was nothing we could do, we would switch gears and ask, "what are three things you are grateful for?" This literally changed the atmosphere and helped us to see that the context of the struggles was always smaller than the sum of our lives. I hope that practicing gratitude helps you do the same.
If you are a part of Lift Church we would like to invite you on a 21 Day Gratitude Challenge, where at the end of each day you spend time writing down 3 good things that happened to you.
The podcast from Sunday is now available on our PODCAST tab.