Gratitude is arguably the most powerful motivator there is. Too often we are driven by such things as stress, duty, obligation, or guilt, which rarely inspire passion or lead to fruitful results. Likewise, motivators like ambition and the pursuit of happiness can leave us feeling unsatisfied, or have potential to cause unintended harm to those around us. Gratitude, however, almost always leads to a positive outcome, both for us and those we are grateful for.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 28:7 (NLT)
Everyone has something to be grateful for. The question is, how willing are you to find out what yours is? As Americans we love to complain, because it’s infinitely easier to find a reason to feel validated when we’re don’t feel like doing much or changing. However, if you decide to make the effort to focus more on what you should be grateful for, you’ll find the effects on your life will be profound, and you’ll be immeasurably more effective in all your relationships.
Sow Generously, Reap Generously
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”[c] 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
1 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT)
The opposite of a reluctant giver is is a cheerful giver. This scripture explains that the trick to becoming a cheerful giver is to remember that we’ve been given exactly what we need in life to succeed.
Oftentimes in relationships, we can feel like we’re typically the ones being hurt, forgotten or neglected. As a recently married person, I can attest to the fact that it’s easier to feel like I’m the one not being cared for or considered, and that it’s my spouse’s job to remember my each and every need. However, the Bible calls us to think first about how much patience, leniency, and mercy we’ve received over the years for our own countless errors and relational mistakes.
Having this perspective should allow us to give more to people, and in turn expect much more back than we could have ever otherwise anticipated. If we are motivated by gratitude, the results will definitely show.
Compelled By Love
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
2 Corinthians 5:14
There’s power in realizing how much we’ve been given, because it instills in us a passion and desire to live up to it. For most of us, when we take a step back and look at the people in our lives who’ve sacrificed in order for us to make it, we can’t help but look at our problems and dissatisfactions and think that they’re trivial in comparison. Jesus provided the ultimate example of this by dying on the cross for our sins…in one moment, he provided for us the most selfless act imaginable, the nullified any justification we may have had or ever will have for being stuck in a rut of self pity and inaction.
Being motivated by the love someone has shown you will compel you to do so much more than you would if you were being compelled by a sense of obligation or duty. If you’re like me, that will only carry you so far. When I’m at my lowest points in life — angry at the world and a bear to be around — it’s typically because I’ve lost sight of the mercy God and others have shown me throughout the years. Everything seems too hard, and everyone around me seems to not understand me. Being reminded of how much God sacrificed for me almost instantly snaps me out of it, and gives me the perspective I need to start making my relationships right.
- What areas in your life do you complain about most?
- What do you have to be grateful for in your life?
- How has God moved in your life this year?
- Who do you affect most when you are ungrateful? How does it affect them?
Make a list of 10 things to be grateful for. Pray through it every day this week, and find one person a day to express gratitude to
- Book of Colossians
- Book of 2 Corinthians