Always Grateful

By Curtis Rittenour
Posted November 21, 2016

Would you like to take better care of your health? Do you want to lower your risk of getting cancer or heart disease? Does stress rule your life and anxiety control your emotions? Consider practicing a spirit of gratitude—because it is good for you all the way around!

For many, Thanksgiving is just a small slice of the year in which we pause to give thanks. But research shows that living with a spirit of appreciation from January to December will benefit our physical and mental well-being more than an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, proposes that people who live with gratitude as a “permanent trait” are a step ahead in their health compared to ungrateful people. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.”

He goes on to say that stress, which is linked to several leading causes of death—such as heart disease and cancer—“claims responsibility for up to 90 percent of all doctor visits.” Emmons suggests that expressing gratitude and having feelings of thankfulness are tremendously helpful in coping with stress.

The apostle Paul was a step ahead of modern research on the importance of always having a grateful heart. He placed a tall order before followers of Jesus when he advised us, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). His recommendation was not a fluke. He also wrote: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

The Christian lives with the assurance that everything that happens to us can work for our good. The Lord doesn’t ask us to be thankful for the things that hurt us, but even in the most difficult of circumstances we can know that God still loves us, forgives us, and will someday restore to us all good things.

The ability to live with a grateful heart all year long comes from a deeper insight into cosmic history given to us in the Bible. When we carefully study the origin of evil, the problem of suffering, and the soon coming of Jesus, it gives us a heavenly view of our world that helps us to be thankful, for we know that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
Learn more about thankfulness during this message from Pastor Doug called, “The Why, How & When of Thanks.”

NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.

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