How does exercising gratitude to God with a grateful heart, in two key ways, increase your joy in life as well as strengthen your faith?
Most of us are familiar with the stirring opening scene to the movie, “The Sound of Music.”
I’m talking about when the camera pans closer and closer over the mountains to where Julie Andrews broke out into song, melodically boasting about how the hills are alive with the sound of music.
This inspirational image and idea comes very close to what the Apostle Paul was urging us to do when he wrote these words in Colossians 3:16. Only he wasn’t talking about praising in song the beauty of a mountainside, but rather urging us to show great gratitude and praise to our magnificent God in a variety of ways.
It’s important to seriously consider Paul’s words here, otherwise we will almost certainly grow flabby and discontent in our faith. His command reminds us to set our minds on what matters—the message of the Messiah—taking it in personally, as well as releasing it out through encouraging words about our Savior to everyone around us.
Exercises for a Grateful Heart
We cannot simply read God’s word and/or pray and then go our merry way each day. God wants us to recognize that our gratitude to Him needs to be cultivated and strengthened. These exercises for our faith are a perfect and essential way to do that.
1. Teach and admonish—meaning encourage/warn—others using wisdom from God’s word.
If we’re not sharing with others what God is teaching us through His word, we’re missing the opportunity to shine Christ’s light out into a darkened world. This cheats the lost world of a glimpse at Jesus’ brilliance, as well as robbing our Christian brothers and sisters of faith-strengthening moments. Not only that, but we individually will feel less and less grateful to God and content in our circumstances whenever we cut corners here.
2. Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude to God.
You may offer up the excuse here that you’re not much of a singer. But God would say to you, that’s beside the point! Jesus simply wants us to be so in love with Him, so grateful to Him for His salvation, that we can’t help but belt out our praises, even if they come out of our mouths off-key. In fact, that’s the kind of worship God desires most—sincere, uninhibited and unfiltered praise. It’s the kind of worship that can easily put Julie Andrew’s cinematic moment to shame!
How willing are you to exercise your heart in these two important ways? How do you think it will change your attitude toward life and God?
Father, stir up within me an overwhelming desire to praise You from a grateful heart! Use these exercises to not only deepen my gratitude for all You have done, but to also pierce the darkness with Your warm and welcoming light. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16 (HCSB)