If you have the choice to spend time with either a thankful person or someone who is ungrateful, which one are you more attracted to? I find that a person who exudes gratitude and peace is far more attractive than someone who seems to be ungracious and angry–someone who is a “hot mess”.
Thankful people can worship wholeheartedly as gratitude opens our hearts to God’s peace and enables us to “put on love” (Col. 3:14). To live in love leads to peace between individuals and among the members of the body of believers. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Col. 3:15-16)
Paul is telling us to let Christ’s peace be the umpire or referee in our hearts. Our hearts are the center of conflict because there our feelings and desires clash–our fears and hopes, distrust and trust, jealousy and love. How can we deal with these constant conflicts and lives as God wants? Paul explains that we must decide between conflicting elements by using the rule of peace. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)
To increase our thankfulness, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of all we have (including our relationships, memories, abilities, family and even material possessions); and then to use the inventory listed in prayers of gratitude to the Lord. We should celebrate what the Lord has done for us, rather than spending our energies looking at what is wrong in our lives, and be thankful. This will keep our focus on the Lord and eternity, rather than on the temporary here on earth.
When our hearts are full of gratitude and thankfulness (even if in the world’s view we aren’t successful), we allow Christ’s light to shine through us in a dark world–we are attractive to others who are living in the dark. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col 3:17) We represent Jesus at all times. What impression do people have of Christ when they see or talk with you?
Lord, I am thankful the peace I have in you that surpasses all understanding. I pray that others will see the love, light, joy and peace found only in you when they see me. Lord, when I take the focus off of you and start to focus on the temporary things here on earth, I ask that you gently remind me to put on your love and peace and turn my focus to eternity.