“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens.”
- Psalm 34:1 TLB
When you and I suffer loss or disappointment, perspective is everything. The Lord made this fact clear to me in new ways, when He gave me a new strategy for responding to situations in which I don’t get my own way. He told me to begin saying on a regular basis, “I still have a lot to be thankful for.” It’s a simple phrase, but it will change your life, if you allow it to change your perspective on things. Scripture tells us: "Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be; be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP) It’s an insult to God when we focus on the things we’ve lost, rather than on the things we have left. And when we adopt a heartfelt “attitude of gratitude” in every situation, we experience levels of victory and power that lift us above our circumstances, and enable us to receive supernatural gifts from God.
So, practically speaking, what does saying, “I still have a lot to be thankful for,” do? It guards us from grumbling and complaining. The Bible says that complaining opens the door to the Destroyer. (1 Corinthians 10:10-11) So refusing to grumble shuts the door on the enemy. It guards us from bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and offense—all attitudes that affect our fellowship with God, and greatly hinder our prayers. (Mark 11:24-25) It protects us from feeling sorry for ourselves. Pride is at the root of all self-pity, so when we refuse to feel sorry for ourselves, we are refusing to reap the penalty of a wrong response to our situation.
Saying, “I still have a lot to be thankful for,” helps to keep our expectations of ourselves and others where they should be. And we are able to extend to them and ourselves the kind of mercy that heals, restores, and renews. Having an “attitude of gratitude” like this is powerful spiritual warfare. Every time we refuse ungodly attitudes and actions, and thank and praise God for all of the good in our lives, we neutralize the power of the dark forces, and we make ourselves a “hard target” for the enemy of our souls.
Scripture says: “Be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” (Colossians 3:15 AMP) It’s not easy to remain thankful in hurtful situations, and it often takes great faith to do so. But this kind of faith opens the door for God to bring great good out of our losses and disappointments, and to demonstrate His awesome power in our circumstances. If you are in a painful place today, look around you, and say to yourself and God, “I still have a lot to be thankful for!”
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I went through trials grumbling, complaining, and feeling bitter. Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself, and for imposing unrealistic expectations on others. Remind me that ungodly attitudes like these can give place to the devil, and please strengthen me to resist them in the power of Your Spirit. Thank You, Lord, that no matter what happens, I still have a lot to be thankful for!
- J. M. Farro