A thankful heart has the power to completely alter our perspective. And thankfulness is rooted in how well, and how much, we love. It is for this reason that Paul opens his second letter to the Thessalonian church by emphasizing the virtues of thankfulness, faith, and love.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1–12. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 1:3:
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers [and sisters], as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (ESV).
Paul and his coauthors—Timothy and Silvanus (also called Silas)—constantly emphasize thankfulness. In particular, it was the abundant faith of the Thessalonian Christians that so inspired them.
When was the last time you stopped to thank God for the faith of another person? It’s probably been awhile. Perhaps a renewal of your heart is needed? I know that I need a heart renewal. I need to learn to appreciate the faith and love of others.
Jesus renews our hearts. Part of that process is a change in our spirit toward thankfulness. Jesus changes our outlook, from negativity to a spirit of gratitude. If you’re struggling to be thankful, chance has it that you need to stop and ask Jesus to renew your spirit.
It is difficult to be faithful to Jesus and others when we lack thankfulness. Each day, we need to ask God to help us be grateful. We need to ask him for faith. We need to learn to love others better and more.
While these remarks can seem like platitudes, I encourage you to stop and think about them. The virtues of gratitude, love, and faith have the power to completely change your outlook. Let Jesus work these virtues into your life.
What parts of your life currently lack thankfulness, love, or faith? How can God change these matters—what can you do to be open to his work in these areas?
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