We’re into the second half of our study on what the difference is between giving thanks and truly having a thankful spirit. I spent the first few days going through what I view as the obstacles to a thankful spirit and I hope you learned as much from those as I did but now that we know some of the things we need to root out of our attitudes it’s time to focus on what attitudes we need to encourage to grow. The first building block we need to build our attitude of gratitude with is positivity or optimism.
If you’re anything like me you might consider yourself to be realist or maybe you even view yourself as a pessimist but the truth is that the Bible calls us to be optimists! Now I’m not saying that being positive is always easy-or even our first instinct but the Bible is chock-full of verses reminding us how blessed we are and how we should walk in that truth. The verse I want to use today is from Jeremiah 29. We’re probably all at least familiar with verse 29:11 but I want to give a little context to the promises God makes to Jeremiah in these verses.
Jeremiah is essentially a letter, written from God through his prophet Jeremiah, to the the Jews who were in exile in Babylon. After telling them that they will be in captivity for another seventy years verse 29:11 reads “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” God is basically telling the Jewish people that they are in it for the long haul and that they need to keep a positive perspective. Notice He isn’t telling them that He has a “get out of this situation quick” plan or that if they work hard, pray hard, or dream hard enough He will click His heels and they will all wake up in their beds. The power in this verse is that even through their difficult situation God is telling them that He has them! In Romans 8:28 we read that “…all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” What an amazing promise! Even when we are going through a situation where we see no reason to be grateful God is working it out with plans for our future.
Being positive doesn’t mean we have to be what Dr. Cox from Scrubs refers to as ” bubble–headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.” There will be situations in our lives where things kind of just suck, and it’s ok to acknowledge those situations for what they are, but as believes we need to remind ourselves that we are blessed by a God who is invested and cares enough about us to use our situations to create a better future! What areas in your life do you need to lay down before God and trust Him with the outcome? How will doing that help you to be more positive on your path to cultivating a thankful spirit?