Gratitude to God is the right attitude of the forgiven, redeemed, and blessed human heart. This gratitude to our Creator, Savior, and Lord is emphasized in many passages of Scripture. Luke 17:11-19 recounts the marvelous miracle when the Lord Jesus Christ healed ten lepers. However, only one returned to the Lord to thank him and to worship him. The one who returned was none other than a Samaritan and the Lord Jesus said referring to him, “‘Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’” (v.18-19).
Gratitude drives us to obey God. In John 14:21, the Lord says, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” The grateful person understands very well that his duty is to obey the Lord and in doing so, he is demonstrating his love for God.
Gratitude drives us to worship the Lord with our whole being. Luke 7:36-50 narrates the story of a sinful woman who prostrated herself before the Lord and worshipped him while a Pharisee only observed and criticized her. Jesus told the Pharisee about the woman: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (v.47).
Gratitude to God drives us to seek to live in holiness. The Bible says that without holiness no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14). Only a person grateful for receiving God’s salvation can yearn to live in holiness.
Gratitude to God drives us to genuine humility. Gratitude to God protects us from falling into pride and reminds us that we are totally dependent on Him. In Luke 18:9-14 the Lord talks about the difference between the prayer of a proud Pharisee and of a repentant tax collector and says, “I tell you that this man [the tax collector], rather than the other [the Pharisee], went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (v. 14).
Gratitude drives us to preach the Gospel. It is impossible to commit ourselves to the church, the extension of the kingdom of God, without gratitude. In fact, the Kingdom of God, from a human perspective, is based on the response of the redeemed person to the tangible love of God expressed in Jesus’ death. The correct response to his death can only be one: gratitude.
We have to learn to be grateful to God in everything and for everything.
Scripture is filled with references on the importance of cultivating a grateful heart. Psalm 103:1-2 exhorts, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Ephesians 5:20 and Colossians 3:17 exhort believers to live in continuous thanksgiving to God in everything and for everything.
Gratitude to God leads to joy.
Philippians has about 16 references to joy and rejoicing. But we can only experience the joy of God when we have a deep and practical gratitude to Him. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28).
I pray that this encourages you to see the unshakeable hope and joy that we have in God that leads us rejoice and thank Him through the ups and downs of life.