Why Gratitude Works

Why Gratitude Works

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. - 1 Chronicles 16:34

In the past couple of years’ gratitude journals have become increasingly more popular. Wealthy people like Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey have contributed using one to their success.    

However, having a grateful heart is not a new concept. All throughout scripture we are reminded to give thanks.

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” - Psalm 100:4

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:18

And there’s good reason why.  Science has proven that gratitude has incredible benefits.

Researcher Dr. Robert Emmons has spent his life studying gratitude and written several books on the topic.  His research has proven the following benefits to keeping a gratitude journal: those who do exercise more regularly, have fewer physical symptoms, and feel better about their lives in general.

Gratitude has also been linked to getting better sleep and alleviating depression.

This is probably why God gave us the instruction, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Gratitude Brings Restoration

In the Bible in Luke 17:12-19, ten lepers approached Jesus wanting to be healed. In reply, Jesus tells them to go show themselves to a priest.  This is significant because the priest would be the one to declare them well. In faith, they leave to go see the priest and along the way they receive their healing.   

Ten were healed but only one returned to Jesus to express his gratitude. Having a heart of gratitude will always set you apart from the crowd.

To this man Jesus said, “Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” – Luke 17:19

The word for whole here is sōzō.  It means to save, to rescue, to make well, and to restore to health.

It is a different word than the word used to say the ten were healed. Leprosy was a flesh-eating disease so even if a person was cured of leprosy they could still have the damage of leprosy evident in their body.  It could take away fingers, toes, ears, etc. Some scholars believe that this man who came back to express his gratitude was not only cured of leprosy but was also completely restored with no evidence leprosy had ever affected his body.

So why does gratitude work? Gratitude works because it gets your eyes off the problem and turns your focus on all the good God is doing in your life.

For the past two years, I’ve kept a gratitude journal where I record five things a day I am thankful for.  I haven’t always been consistent in journaling but when I have I’ve noticed a significant difference in my mood and perspective.

What are you grateful for today? You don’t have to decide to start keeping a gratitude journal but you can make the choice to be grateful each and every day.

If you do want to start using a gratitude journal here is the one I am currently using.

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