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From the Pastor’s Heart

Find out the benefits of having a thankful heart.

Feeling gratitude toward God is a big part of being a Christian—in fact, it probably comes naturally to you. Through faith we have access to His wonderful gifts, from salvation down to the simple kindnesses He shows every day. As His child, it’s almost impossible not to feel thankful! 

And true to His giving nature, God blesses us when we bless Him.

In the following passage, Dr. Stanley shares some of the wonderful benefits we receive when we lift our hearts to God in gratitude.

Have you ever met with a dear friend you had not seen for a while, and you picked up right where you left off? You somehow felt as close to them as you ever had, and you were both eager to catch up on all you’d missed. Something similar happens when we begin to praise and give thanks to God. Time spent in grateful worship refreshes and renews our fellowship with Him, bringing us joy. 

As the psalmist says, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, Most High” (Psalm 92:1). 

The truth is that every effort to reach out to Him enriches our relationship with Him. While God’s blessings shouldn’t be our motivation for thanksgiving, every gift given, and action taken in His name, returns to us as a blessing. 

There are several ways we benefit when we express our thankfulness to God. 

We readjust our focus. 

Praising and thanking the Lord reminds us that our attention should be focused on Him, not on ourselves. The world’s demands and stresses will pull us away from our first priority if we aren’t careful. 

The psalmist Asaph understood this well. He was troubled by many things “until [he] entered the sanctuary of God” (Psalm 73:17). Then he remembered that “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (v. 26). Thanksgiving returns God to His rightful place at the center of our lives.

We’re reminded of our need for Him. 

Communicating gratitude to God reminds us of our absolute dependence on Him. We may think we are in control, and our actions may express the sense of independence we feel. But in reality, we rely on Him for every breath and heartbeat. 

As James wrote, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). When we thank God for any one of His gifts, we’re reminded that He is the source of all we have—including life itself.

Our faith is strengthened. 

Sharing our heartfelt thankfulness with God reinforces our faith as we recall the specific ways that He has answered our prayers, met our needs, and protected us.

Considering the many ways He has already worked in our lives builds our faith and trust in Him for the future. This was often the case for Israel. From one generation to the next, the leaders would call the people to remember and give thanks. “Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will endure,” King Jehoshaphat told the people of Judah in the face of war. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithfulness is everlasting” (2 Chron. 20:20-21). When we thank and praise Him it’s amazing how our faith grows.

We are released from our anxieties. 

Appreciating God eases any worries that have troubled our thinking, clouded our emotions, and even brought tension to our physical bodies. We don’t always recognize the tremendous toll stress takes on every aspect of our being. Praising the Father for all He is and does brings a relief from the pressures of life, and much-needed peace. 

The psalmist recognized our need for a refuge from time to time. The release we experience when we “pour out” the burdens of our hearts to God (Ps. 62:8) contributes greatly to physical, mental, and spiritual health.

We’re not the only ones who benefit. 

Those who see and hear us giving thanks to God are also blessed. When someone hears you praising Him, they’re listening to what He’s been doing in your life. It reminds them that our heavenly Father is the source of the good things in their lives, too. But perhaps most importantly, thanking God pleases God Himself. 

Our gratitude blesses Him and He’s magnified and glorified by it. So let’s join our voices with the psalmist’s, and say, “In God we have boasted all day long, and we will give thanks to Your name forever” (Psalm 44:8).

We’ve been blessed by these words from Dr. Stanley and hope you have as well—especially in this month of gratitude. As you celebrate and thank the Lord, it’s our prayer that praising Him will be a pleasure for you, one filled with hope and humble expectation. From all of us here at In Touch, happy Thanksgiving! Till next time, God bless you.

For His Glory, 

Your Friends at In Touch Ministries