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Thursday, November 26, 2015

An Attitude of Gratitude

The University of Georgia did a study of 468 married individuals. In their study they found that the most consistent, significant predictor of marital quality was ... get this ... spousal expression of gratitude. Didn't see that coming, did you? Not sex, finances, or communication. Gratitude. They said it decreased male and female divorce proneness. They said that when couples engaged in negative conflict patterns, "expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability." Imagine that!

So, here we are at Thanksgiving time. It's a critical time in the human response to God because humans, as a race, naturally tend to be ungrateful (Rom 1:21). Over against that we are repeatedly commanded to give thanks to God. We are to "make known His deeds among the peoples" (1 Chron 6:8) and give thanks because "He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!" (1 Chron 16:34; 1 Chron 20:21; Psa 107:1) (Listen, while you're at it, include Psa 136 which repeats that phrase 4 times.) We are to give thanks "due to His righteousness" (Psa 7:17) and "recount all of Your wonderful deeds" (Psa 9:1; Psa 75:1). Do a word search sometime for "give thanks" in the Bible and the list is monumental. The catch-all, of course, is in Paul's first epistle to the church at Thessalonica.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:18)
That's rather comprehensive, isn't it? All circumstances. "In everything" other translations say. Why? This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." Ever wonder what God's will is for your life? Well, I'm sure it's a lot of various things, but one thing is certain. Give thanks!

Turns out it's good for you. It can improve your marriage. It can improve your outlook on life. It is certainly God's will for your life, and, therefore, certainly good in that respect. So do yourself a favor ... and be grateful. A Thanksgiving state of mind.

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