Choosing to be grateful is generally accepted as being good for our physical and emotional health. But is it important for our spiritual health? What exactly does the Bible say about thankfulness and gratitude? Let’s have a closer look at these principles and why they are so important to us today…
Why Is Gratitude Important To God?
Definition: Gratitude – The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. (Oxford dictionary on Lexico.com)
Thankfulness and gratitude are important to God because they flow out of our relationship with Him. These attitudes reflect our appreciation of our Heavenly Father and our dependence on Him. They demonstrate that we know how much we are loved by God and all that He has done for us.
Scripture teaches us that an attitude of gratitude leads us into the presence of God. Our praise and worship of God come from a thankful heart! Conversely losing our thankfulness and gratitude to God is a sign that there is something seriously wrong in our relationship with Him.
Bible Verses About Gratitude
The Bible is full of verses that reflect appreciation and gratitude to God. To understand what the Bible teaches about the benefits of having a spirit of gratitude we will look at a few Scriptures from the Old and New Testament.
Thankfulness and Gratitude Bring Us In To The Presence of God
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5
In the Psalms there are many songs full of gratitude to God. They were part of the order of worship, preparing the people to enter the Temple and the presence of God. In the same way we enter God’s presence through heartfelt praise and worship. God has promised when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Remembering and declaring His goodness is a sure way of finding our place of rest and peace!
Thankful for God’s Love and Faithfulness
Psalm 136 is a wonderful example of thankfulness and gratitude. The psalmist keeps on repeating the same phrase throughout the twenty-six verses, ‘His love endures forever’. He reflects on the majesty of God as our creator. The psalmist recalls God’s past faithfulness to Israel as the One who rescued them from Egypt. He praises God for His protection, and His provision, and is overwhelmed at the extent of God’s love for His people.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever……Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1,26
Gratitude for God’s Provision
Harvest thanksgiving is an important marker in our annual calendar of getting back to basics and acknowledging God as our provider. True thanksgiving and gratitude come from recognition of God’s Sovereignty and His gracious provision – all good gifts come from Him.
“Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills” Psalm 147:7-8
God’s Will For Our Lives
In those times when we have important decisions to make, we may take the times to reflect on what is God’s will for our life. We may pray, God’s will over our choices, which is good! But, God’s will for each one of us is a heart matter – it is for a relationship with Him. And in that relationship to grow and practise an attitude of gratitude because of the benefits it brings.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Thanksgiving Brings Peace
In our relationship with God, and when we are secure in His love, there are personal benefits to gratitude. When we live with a spirit of gratitude it is an antidote to anxiety. Our thankfulness is a reminder of who God is and His faithfulness to us, all the time. We can bring all of our worries and concerns and leave them with God and in exchange receive His peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Examples Of Gratitude In The Bible
There are so many examples of gratitude in the Bible. We read elaborate songs of thanksgiving to a few simple words of appreciation and gratitude to God. They range from celebration of God’s deliverance from national disaster, to personal blessing, to thanks for a simple meal. But they all reveal those who loved God and recognized His faithfulness and wanted to express their appreciation and gratitude.
Deborah’s Song of Thanksgiving for Deliverance
“Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.” Judges 5:3
The Song of Deborah is a poetic celebration of a great victory for Israel in battle. God had fought on behalf of His people using the power of His creation to defeat the enemy. Deborah was the voice of the people expressing their appreciation and gratitude for what God had done!
A song was a form of storytelling and a way of recording what had happened for future generations. Many people find it easier to remember a song, so using a song to retell important events meant they were not forgotten.
Recalling, with thanksgiving, what God has done in the past stirs our faith to see what He is doing now. And it also brings hope for the future. You may like to read more of the Victory Song of Deborah.
Hannah’s Gratitude for Answered Prayer
Recorded in the Bible there are two prayers by Hannah. They are set apart by a couple of years and the first is with tears and a desperate vow. But the second prayer is regarded as a song of thanksgiving, and gratitude.
Hannah’s second prayer is found at the beginning of 1 Samuel chapter two. This is Hannah’s prayer of praise and reveals her heart of appreciation and gratitude to God. But it also makes a prophetic declaration of a new era in Israel’s history. A season in which her newborn son would one day have an instrumental role!
“Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:1-2
You might also like to read: Hannah’s Prayer – 6 Powerful Lessons for Today
Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving
All four of the gospels report the miracle of the feeding of five thousand men with five small loaves and two fish. In this miraculous account Jesus demonstrated for us thankfulness and gratitude.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” Matthew 14:18-20
Jesus took the food that had been brought to Him and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks to God. Jesus believed that what He had been given would be more than enough to supply the needs of the people. God would multiply the small amount of food that Jesus was thankful for.
Jesus is teaching us to be thankful for what we have, and to trust God for what is needed!
Thankfulness and Gratitude For Healing
In any list that shares examples of gratitude in the Bible, you will probably find this story. Not so much because of the gratitude shown but because of the ingratitude. Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when he met ten men who had leprosy. They kept their distance but shouted and pleaded with Him to have pity on them.
They obviously knew Jesus’ reputation, they called out His name, and they called Him Master. Jesus instructed them to go, into Jerusalem, and show themselves to the priest. This was to confirm their healing and acceptance back into society. And on the way, as they took this step of faith, they were cleansed and completely healed.
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him…” Luke 17:15-16
But only one of the ten men returned to thank Jesus for his healing, and he was a Samaritan. The other nine did not acknowledge what God had done for them. This clearly angered Jesus, a righteous anger, for failure to give praise to God.
This is a clear reminder that there is an expectation that God’s people will express their thankfulness and gratitude to Him. We must practise gratitude, and train ourselves to express our thanks. This is not as a ritual, but genuinely from our hearts. We are cleansed from our sin by faith in Jesus, and our broken relationship with God is healed!
Thankfulness and Gratitude For Salvation
When we accept the message of Christ, the good news of the gospel, we become part of God’s family. In his letter to the early church at Colossae, the apostle Paul reminds us to be thankful and to worship God with gratitude. We have been reconciled to the Father, by Jesus’ sacrifice, and are now chosen, holy, and dearly loved by Him.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15-16
Do we need these reminders to pray, and to give thanks in every situation? To praise God, from our hearts, to sing and to worship Him? They are there for a reason, to encourage us in those times when we feel weary and discouraged. Thanksgiving and gratitude are the life force of our relationship with God!
Gratitude Prayer for God’s Grace
Thank you, Heavenly Father, that I am now part of Your family. I thank You from a grateful heart, for Your love and the freedom that I have in Christ Jesus. Thank You for the inner peace that comes from being reconciled to You and Your protection and provision every day. I am so grateful that in Christ Jesus I have so much to be thankful for!
Free Download of Gratitude Scripture Colouring pages – six different designs
Free Download of ‘Gratitude Flows’ – 10 Scriptures of Gratitude that flow out of our relationship with God!