So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior-a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation],
Ephesians 4:1 AMP
Gratitude is powerful. This Scripture says that when we are grateful, other godly qualities follow suit in our lives: courage, maturity, integrity, and character.
But there will be times in each of our lives when we don’t feel especially grateful. Perhaps something in your life isn’t going the way you hoped, or isn’t happening at the time you wanted it to. In these moments, we can train ourselves to be grateful. God’s forgiveness and love can soften even our most ungrateful hearts and motivate us to treat others around us with love and compassion.
Forgiven Much, Grateful Much
Jesus said, “There were two men. Both men owed money to the same banker. One man owed him 500 silver coins. The other man owed him 50 silver coins.  The men had no money, so they could not pay their debt. But the banker told the men that they did not have to pay him. Which one of those two men will love him more?”  Simon answered, “I think it would be the one who owed him the most money.” Jesus said to him, “You are right.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave me no water for my feet. But she washed my feet with her tears and dried my feet with her hair.
 I tell you that her many sins are forgiven. This is clear, because she showed great love. People who are forgiven only a little will love only a little.”
Luke 7:41-44,47 ERV
The woman Jesus is referring to was known for being “sinful” (Luke 7:37). But she was so grateful for God’s forgiveness that she became an exceptional example of love and gratitude.
Because she was aware of and acknowledged all the mistakes she had made, this woman treated Jesus with overwhelming selflessness and care. Simon, on the other hand, did not acknowledge who he was or what mistakes he had made, and so did not respond with gratitude. He didn’t see how much he needed to be forgiven and so he didn’t love as much as he could have.
When we allow ourselves to be aware of and acknowledge the mistakes and failures we make in our lives, we will become more grateful for God and his forgiveness.
- What sins/mistakes do you need to be aware of or own up to? It could be deceit and lying about who you are to your friends and family, bitterness toward a relationship that you haven’t let go of, pride by comparing yourself to the people around you, or even just selfishness at home or with your friends.
- What is your attitude toward seeing your sins, mistakes and weaknesses? Do you tend to hide them, justify them, and ignore them? Or do you take responsibility for your choices and gratefully accept God’s mercy?
- Owning up to what we’ve done wrong and accepting God’s forgiveness is an important part of developing gratitude.
Loved Much, Grateful Much
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
Psalm 139:14 VOICE
God cares about even the smallest details about us and our lives. When we stop and think about how important we are to God, our hearts will become more grateful to him.
- Do you believe God cares about even the smallest details about who you are?
- How have you seen God’s care for you in your life?
Grateful People are Free
Free from Fear
But, except for these special cases, I’m not going to walk around on eggshells worrying about what small-minded people might say; I’m going to stride free and easy, knowing what our large-minded Master has already said. If I eat what is served to me, grateful to God for what is on the table, how can I worry about what someone will say? I thanked God for it and he blessed it!
1 Corinthians 10:29 MSG
In this verse, we see that Paul’s gratitude to God freed him from fear of what other people thought of him. Gratitude focused him on God, not on other people’s opinions.
- How worried do you get about what other people will think of your life and your choices? How do you think being grateful for what God has given you could relieve some of this worry?
- Take time to pray and talk to God about what you are grateful for.
Free to Love
Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.
1 John 4:19 TPT
Remember this: The one who plants few seeds will have a small harvest. But the one who plants a lot will have a big harvest.  Each one of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. You should not give if it makes you unhappy or if you feel forced to give. God loves those who are happy to give.  And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work.  God is the one who gives seed to those who plant, and he gives bread for food. And God will give you spiritual seed and make that seed grow. He will produce a great harvest from your goodness.  God will make you rich in every way so that you can always give freely. And your giving through us will make people give thanks to God.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8,10-11 ERV
Love for other people should be a grateful response for God’s love to us. It shouldn’t be something you have to muster up or force. God gives freely to us, and in response, he wants us to feel free from worry about our own lives so that we can give to others. We don’t have to hold anything back because God gives us what we need.
- Who in your life needs you to love them?
- How can you give to others today?