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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gott


Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Not only is a grateful heart something of special beauty in a person, but it is that kind of person that God descends upon with a touch from heaven. The attitude of gratitude welcomes God to fully do as He pleases. For example, we hear Nehemiah’s confession, “I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me” (chapter 2, verse 18). We feel how positive and powerful declaration was for him.

Because God is our great donor, we become His great debtor. Spurgeon said in a sermon, “It ought to be as habitual for us to thank as to ask.” For each of us, let that become our habit!

There cannot be a more tragic sight in life than to see a person with no awareness of how good God has been to them. Ingratitude tells you one thing for sure: that person is not on speaking terms with God.

Is it not amazing and strange that the Lord must wait and wait for those He has continually blessed to show a spirit of grateful appreciation to Him? After all, a thankful heart is a “continual feast”! Look at such people and you will see it! And I mean by that, I have never met a person that was continually thanking God, who did not have more than enough. The psalmist said, “his seed are never begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25, read it and rejoice!).

We stand between, and I mean all of us, the blessings He has already freely given us and the blessing He fully intends for us—so we should always live with a thankful heart filled with grateful expectancy. The person blessed by God is a person who has won those blessings in expressed gratitude and witnessed those blessings with lips of praise. We can never do that too much and too often!

What are the personal benefits beyond those I have already mentioned? Let me list three special benefits that come to a thankful heart.

1. A thankful heart will know the power of the fullness of joy. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:10-11) Here is an astounding promise—that He will give us His joy! And more, their joy would be overflowing—filled to the full and overflowing! “… that my joy might remain in you …”

Dr. R. A. Torrey spoke of some Christians who have just enough religion to make them miserable! Why? Because they can no longer fully enjoy a life of sin and yet they have not entered into the joy of the Lord! What a wretched place to be—in a spiritual “no-man’s land.” The way out of this mess is rather simple, to pray this prayer: “O Lord, I put myself, without reservations, into Thy hands. Because You are a good God, do with me as You choose—I’m Yours, all I am and all I’m not! I remain thankful!”

The way to joy is to forget and dismiss what He may ask and to say with confidence, “You can do more with my life than I can—so it’s Yours.” And with positive gratitude yield all you are to Him.

2. The thankful heart will know the power of the unveiled knowledge of truth. God’s greatest truth is the truth He reveals inwardly. It’s more than Biblical knowledge, it’s a relationship. He does that to people with grateful hearts. Jesus spoke of this person saying, he “shall know the truth” (John 8:32).

Nothing so blinds our spiritual vision like a selfish person who turns a cold shoulder to God. Here is what you will hear that person say about life, “Well, I just don’t understand it!” That will be repeated as the issues of life are faced. The result is confusion and bitterness—but a surrendered, grateful heart has light shed upon it. For “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5) It’s amazing how gratitude brings light to life’s problems and how what was baffling now is a non-issue.

Think of a person who loves to continually think deeply about the things of God and ponders with gratitude the treasures of truth, rich and freely flowing into that person’s life—how could that person not be in “the flow of God’s go”? Devotion is the result of gratitude, and the result is wonderful witnessing.

Yet, some people live their entire life and the treasures of truth that some come to know are closed to them! The word is the one I used earlier, “miserable,” and a poverty stricken existence. The words will ring out, “Well, life is a miserable puzzle and I just don’t understand it. It’s a mystery to me!” A Frenchman who was a renowned thinker said life was nothing more than a wet newspaper wadded up and put in a trash can on a lonely, dark street!

The grateful heart surrendered to God, His will and His way, will have light that floods the mind and spiritual knowledge that fills the soul. God’s riches in abundance will be the glorious result.

3. A thankful heart will know the power of answered prayer. Yes, power in prevailing prayer! Here is a truth, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him”—why?—because we “do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” (read I John 3:22) And what is more pleasing to Him than a person who constantly says thank You and walks in His ways rejoicing and filled with grateful praise?

Again the wonderful words from John, “whatsoever we ask, we receive of him …” But the stern and stubborn, the selfish and the self-centered can never be thankful or live in a spirit of prayerful obedience to God’s will for they are too full of themselves.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord” (that’s a person with a thankful heart who enjoys God) “and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4) Think of that for a moment! Such a person wants or desires what God desires for them. Their heart, because of gratitude, is in tune with God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who died for the faith, said from his prison cell outside of Berlin, “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

And one must understand then that prayer is not wrestling with a reluctant God not wanting to bless, but laying hold of the full realization that God is wanting and waiting to bless! And again remember, such a person is “delighting in the Lord” as that person prays. Such a person prays effectively because they come to desire what God desires. They are in concert, because of a thankful heart, with the wonderful will of God. The more He blesses their praying with answers, the more thankful they become. It feeds itself to greater trust.

Jesus said of that thankful person, “… he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) The word “manifest” means “become more and more real.” That relationship will produce a stream of happiness and holiness because of intimate fellowship with Him. And that person’s life will be something they enjoy and it will be enjoyable to others, all of it Christ-like in character. Martin Luther reminds us it is an ongoing process. He said, “A Christian is never in a state of completion but always in the process of becoming.” Yes, daily becoming more grateful.

Joy, gladness, appreciation, praise, and a rejoicing heart of gratitude are the result—it’s a surging river of life! So there will be that amazing quality of life that is so very rare today—it’s the full power of a heart of thanksgiving!


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