Transformation Series, Part 8: This message is a challenge for us to move from thanksgiving as an event to giving thanks as a lifestyle. To do so, we must develop a theology of thankfulness, understand the far reaching benefits of thankfulness and become people who are thankful by default.
Transformation Series Part 8
Growth through Thankfulness
Dave Spooner – Mosaic Rockford – Nov. 22nd, 2015
- Today is the last in our series of Transformation . . . encourage people to get the notes, study, listen online . . . . put these things into practice and the spirit will do the working of transformation in our lives. Slowing, prayer, guidance, scripture, service, celebration and thankfulness.
- The thanksgiving season is upon us and it is good for us to set aside of day to give thanks to God and to enjoy the blessings He has given to us.
- I want to challenge us to move from thanksgiving as an event to giving thanks as a lifestyle. To do so, we must develop a theology of thankfulness, understand the far reaching benefits of thankfulness and become people who are thankful by default.
A theology of thankfulness
- Thankfulness is the result of seeing God clearly
1 Chron 16:34 NIV
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
- Thankfulness is a powerful spiritual weapon
2 Chron 20:21 NIV
Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
- Thankfulness is glorifying to God
Ps 69:30 NIV
I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
- Thankfulness is honoring to God
Ps 100:4-5 NIV
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
- Thankfulness is the practice of Jesus
Matt 14:19-20 NIV
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
- Thankfulness is Christian communication
Eph 5:4 NIV
Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
- Thankfulness is a sign of a deep and strong spiritual life
Col 2:6-7 NIV
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
- Thankfulness is part of a healthy prayer life
Col 4:2-3 NIV
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
- Thankfulness is the will of God
1 Thess 5:16-18 NIV
Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- Thankfulness is acceptable worship
Heb 12:28-29 NIV
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Benefits of thankfulness
- Thinking and seeing clearly
Rom 1:21 NIV
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- Peace in your heart and protection for your mind
Phil 4:4-7 NIV
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Gratitude is no cure-all, but it is a massively underutilized tool for improving life-satisfaction and happiness.
(For referenced chart, see attached PDF file).
- Emotional Benefits
Gratitude helps us bounce back. Gratitude makes us feel good. Gratitude makes our memories happier.
Gratitude reduces feelings of envy. Gratitude helps us relax.
- Social Benefits
Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, and improve our marriage.
- Career Benefits
Gratitude makes you a more effective manager, helps you network, improves your decision making capabilities, increases self-esteem and reduces insecurity, increases your productivity, and helps you get mentors, protégés, and benefactors. As a result, gratitude helps you achieve your career goals, as well as making your workplace a more friendly and enjoyable place to be.
- Health Benefits
Gratitude improves your sleep. Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. Gratitude keeps you away from the doctor. Those who engage in gratitude practices have been shown to feel less pain, go to the doctor less often, have lower blood pressure, and be less likely to develop a mental disorder. Gratitude lets you live longer. Gratitude increase your energy levels. Gratitude makes you more likely to exercise.
- Character Benefits
Gratitude makes us more optimistic, less self-centered, reduces materialism, increases self-esteem and our connection with God.
How to cultivate a life of thankfulness
- Develop your theology of thankfulness
- Focus your thoughts
- You will find what you are looking for – choose to think about the following
Phil 4:8-9 NIV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal
- Be thankful for what you have
- You may assume that those with more material possessions have more to be grateful for. However, research suggests otherwise. Edward Diener, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that a high percentage of affluent people in Japan report low levels of life satisfaction, just as those living in poverty in India do. These findings suggest that it’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have, that makes the difference.
- Learn from people who do it well – and become like them
- Encourage them to do the research
- Encourage them to listen to the series and train yourself to be Godly – put these things into practice – slowing, prayer, listening, reading of scripture, serving others, celebrating and being thankful.
- Next series – Christmas – Advent – Hope/Love/Joy/Peace
- Prayer people