In Part 3 of our “How to build your faith” Pastor Shawn looks at the Building Blocks of Faith. To build a wall, you need material. God gave us the building blocks for building faith. It’s Gratitude. Learn more in the message The Vital Key of Gratitude to Build your Faith.
Title: “The Vital Key of Gratitude to Build Your Faith”
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.Psalm 100:4 NASB95
Importance of faith in the Christian journey
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone
In Canada this is a national Holiday to take the time to reflect on the wonderful things God has done for us
Since 6 November 1879 Canada has celebrated being thankful
Although it started as a season to be thankful for the harvest God provided
I beleive its an essential part of the Christian journey
Being thankful is an important
Even medical studies show the benefits of being thankful
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
the Happiest people on earth are the ones who are most thankful
not the ones who on the most.
studies actually show that the weathiest people are the most unhappy people
Happy people are thankful people!
The role of gratitude in strengthening faith
Gratitude plays a pivotal role in fortifying faith, acting as a powerful connector between the believer and God.
When we adopt an attitude of thankfulness, we acknowledge God’s goodness,
reinforcing our trust in His plan and providence.
Gratitude serves as a tangible expression of faith, as exemplified in biblical narratives where individuals like David and Paul found strength in being thankful amidst challenges.
It transforms our perspective, offering a lens through which we see the blessings even in adversity.
This intentional appreciation for God’s goodness becomes a cornerstone for building and sustaining a resilient faith,
providing a steadfast anchor in the journey of spiritual growth.
In essence, gratitude becomes both a response to faith and a catalyst for its deepening, fostering a profound connection between the believer and the source of their faith.
II. Understanding Gratitude
A. Definition: Gratitude as an attitude of thankfulness
Gratitude is defined as an attitude of thankfulness its acknowledgment and appreciation of the positive aspects of life.
This attitude involves cultivating a mindful awareness of the gifts and favors received, whether from other people, the natural world, or God.
Gratitude is not solely a reactive response to favorable circumstances; rather, it involves a proactive choice to focus on the positive elements of one’s experiences.
This intentional practice of thankfulness not only enriches individual well-being but also serves as a foundational aspect of various spiritual and philosophical traditions, highlighting its significance in fostering a positive outlook on life.
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.Psalm 103:1–10 NASB95
B. Gratitude as a response to God’s goodness
5 Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like a great deep. O Lord, You preserve man and beast. 7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. 8 They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. 10 O continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.Psalm 36:5–10 NASB95
Simply as a response of all the things God has done for us!
Theres a term that has been thrown around alot lately
“confirmation bias” def: people’s tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with their existing beliefs
its something we all do.
but due to algorithms and social media this phenomenon has drastically exploded
You can come up with the most absurb belief, and you will find others who will support you in it.
This occurs regularly in what have been called echo chambers
but the same thing happens in every relationship
especially the marriage relationship
If you believe and focus on the negative things your spouse does, it won’t take very long to start seeing it in everything they do.
Ever made the statement “You Always” or “You never”
incidentally, if they do it and don’t do it once….your a liar!
Confirmation bias that focuses on the negative leads to a death spiral of every relationship
Conversely this same thing can be used for good.
this is evident in newly dating couples.
they only see the good in each other, and this lasts generally until the honeymoon period comes to an end
then they start noticing the shortcoming with creates a negative confirmation bias
The same is true with our relationship with God
If you focus on what you don’t have
if you focus on whats missing or something you are in wait for!
that can and will deaden your faith and disable your trust in God
But if you are thankful to God for the many things He has done for you
its opens the door for you to see the many things He is still doing for you!
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.Colossians 2:6–7 NASB95
III. Gratitude and Faith Connection
A. Gratitude as a demonstration of trust
Gratitude serves as a compelling demonstration of trust,
it showcases a profound reliance on something beyond ourselves.
When we express gratitude, we essentially affirm our belief in the goodness and benevolence of the giver,
In a spiritual context, expressing gratitude to God is an act of trust in His wisdom and providence, acknowledging His role as the ultimate benefactor.
This demonstration of trust is not contingent on circumstances being perfect but thrives even in challenging times.
By being thankful, we convey a belief that, ultimately, things are working together for our good.
Gratitude becomes a language of faith, affirming that there is purpose and grace even in the midst of uncertainty,
fostering a deeper connection between the grateful individual and the source of their trust.
B. Faith-building through a grateful heart
Faith-building through a grateful heart is a profound process wherein the act of thanksgiving becomes a catalyst for spiritual growth.
Gratitude, as a genuine and intentional acknowledgment of blessings,
it fosters a mindset that sees beyond immediate circumstances.
When we cultivate a grateful heart, we recognize the hand of God in our lives.
This awareness, in turn, strengthens our faith by affirming the goodness of God even in challenging situations.
Gratitude shifts our focus from what is lacking to what has been given,
providing a firm foundation for trust in God’s plan.
The more we reflect on and appreciate the numerous gifts, both big and small, the more resilient our faith becomes.
Ultimately, a grateful heart becomes a wellspring of hope, sustaining and building our faith as we navigate the complexities of life with a profound sense of appreciation and trust in the divine.
C. Examples from the Bible: David
thanksgiving for the previous things God had done
1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. 2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders.Psalm 105:1–2 NASB95
thanksgiving focuses on who God is
6 For though the Lord is exalted, Yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. 8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.Psalm 138:6–8 NASB95
thanksgiving for listening to his prayers and his cries.
19 But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer Nor His lovingkindness from me.Psalm 66:19–20 NASB95
thanksgiving in an expectation for how God will act
5 But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah. 6 The righteous will see and fear, And will laugh at him, saying, 7 “Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, But trusted in the abundance of his riches And was strong in his evil desire.” 8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. 9 I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.Psalm 52:5–9 NASB95
thanksgiving for His many Blessings God pours out
2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. 3 On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.Psalm 138:2–3 NASB95
The things we can thank God for our limitless
5 Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,Isaiah 42:5 NASB95
you could spend the rest of your time on earth thanking Him, and you would never find an end
IV. Gratitude in Adversity
Gratitude as a choice, not just a feeling
happyness is a feeling
Gratitude is a decision of the will
Job’s example: Finding gratitude in suffering
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”Job 1:20–21 NASB95
thankfulness is a powerful tool to help you thrive through the trials of life
When faced with adversity, maintaining a spirit of gratitude is transformative.
Instead of succumbing to despair, a grateful heart seeks out lessons and silver linings in the midst of challenges.
Gratitude doesn’t deny the existence of difficulties;
rather, it provides a perspective that goes beyond the immediate struggle.
In trials, a grateful heart acts as a refining fire,
purifying one’s faith and character.
It allows individuals to find strength in acknowledging the blessings that persist even amid hardship, fostering resilience.
This gratitude-driven resilience not only helps endure trials
but also contributes to personal growth, deepening one’s trust in God.
The ability to express thanks in difficult times reflects a profound understanding that even in the crucible of challenges,
there are opportunities for spiritual refinement and a strengthening of one’s faith.
V. Practical Steps to Cultivate Gratitude
Daily gratitude journaling
actively write out the things you are thankful for
Intentional thanksgiving in prayers
Instructions on how to enter Gods presence
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.Psalm 100:4–5 NASB95
Recognizing and appreciating God’s blessings, big and small
Activley take notice of what God is doing around you
goosebumps When a feel them, I take note God is about to do something!
VI. Faith and Gratitude in Action
How a grateful heart affects daily decisions
Firstly, gratitude fosters a sense of contentment
reducing the allure of materialism and impulsive desires.
This contentment, rooted in thankfulness for what one already has, leads to more thoughtful and intentional decision-making regarding financial matters and lifestyle choices.
Secondly, gratitude promotes a compassionate perspective.
When decisions are made from a place of thankfulness,
there’s a heightened awareness of the needs and feelings of others.
This often results in choices that reflect empathy and a desire to contribute positively to the well-being of those around us.
Thirdly, a grateful heart encourages a focus on long-term goals and values.
Rather than being swayed by short-term gratifications,
decisions are guided by a vision of what truly matters in the grander scheme of life.
Gratitude serves as a constant reminder of the blessings received,
prompting individuals to make choices that contribute to their overall well-being and the well-being of others.
I encourage you to focus on being grateful
focus on the goodness of God
Kingdom Way Church – https://KingdomWay.ca is our church in Edmonton, Alberta. Watch us live at https://KWay.live Sundays at 10:00 AM Mountain time. Watch Video on Demand at https://Kway.tv Connect and learn more at https://MyKWC.ca