How Gratitude Strengthens Faith
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
~ Col 2:7
I’m sure you’ve heard that gratitude is the natural result of humility. You’ve undoubtedly heard that it is the opposite of selfishness and even “A cure for depression“. Have you considered, however, that it also combats a lack of faith?
An attitude of gratitude has been ascribed many positive benefits. “The Art of Gratitude” states:
Add layers of inspiration to your life through the process of expressing gratitude. It is the answer when you look for meaning in uncertain circumstances. And it is a dimension of joy and personal completion. Count on an attitude of gratitude underneath the structure of happiness. It gives meaning and purpose to your life.
Think about the positive benefits, and can there be any doubt that Paul purposefully tied faith and gratitude together in the opening quoted verse?
Israel murmured and complained almost continuously for 40 years in the wilderness. They lacked humility, for they complained against God. They proudly even tried to return to Egypt once. The odd thing was that Paul, whom I believe wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, summed up their problem as a lack of faith!
4 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
~ Heb 4:1-2
What is amazing, of course, is that they saw God’s hand in working miracles that provoked Pharaoh to release Israel from Egypt. You would likely think that anyone who saw such miraculous signs would believe!
You would likely think that, but you would be wrong. This is an example of just how blind people are without God’s Holy Spirit.
Of course, a lack of faith causes grumbling, but have you considered that the answer might actually be to reverse it? If you give gratitude, you think about things in a more positive life. You realize how blessed you are, and that leads you to believe a little more strongly not only in God’s power but in God’s loving care.
However, when you dwell upon the negative, you not only lose gratitude, but the loss of gratitude erodes faith. Ultimately, dwelling upon the negative will lead to ungodly thoughts.
This is why I have to remind myself continually to:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
~ Php 4:4, 8 (NKJV)