A Practical Gratitude Challenge (Chris Francis)
This past week we finished a series called “The Glory of God in Jersey Shore Life.” We basically talked about living for God’s glory in the small moments of life. And the last thing we talked about was Joyful Gratitude — expressing it and pursuing it in every moment of the day. I don’t want to re-hash the main points from the sermon (you can listen to it here), but I do want to challenge everyone to try something.
It’s a little exercise / spiritual discipline / experiment.
Something to do every morning for the next 7 days.
Something that only takes 10 minutes.
Every morning, as soon as you wake up, do 100 crunches and 50 push-ups.
Just kidding. That’s not the exercise. You can do those if you want to, but here’s the deal:
Sometime in the early part of the day, before you start asking God for things, take 10 minutes to give thanks to Him. For specific things.
Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What’s he saying? He’s saying that before you go asking God for things, give thanks. Enter his presence with thanksgiving.
In addition – studies show that making lists of what we are thankful for actually lead to us “feeling” more thankful and joyful. It sort of kick-starts our brains to focus on that which makes us happy.
So every morning, for the next 7 days, get out a piece of paper or your computer or ipad or whatever you can write with.
Then start making a list of what God has done for you and given you. Here are some questions to get you thinking (I’m not suggesting you try to “answer them all each day.” Maybe use a few each day.)
What Has God Done for You in Your Life?
What Has God Done for you this past week?
What Has God Done for you yesterday?
Where is God at work in the lives of those around you?
What prayers has he answered this past year?
What is God teaching you / showing you?
What are some areas of needed growth that he has graciously revealed to you?
What Do you have to look forward to this week? This year?
What wrong or injustice or pain in your life will God do away with some day?
What are some unique blessings about where you live? And what you own?
What are some unique blessings about the season of life you are in?
Hopefully that can get you thinking. And writing. And giving thanks.