Devotions,  Life Stories/Lessons

Before and After the Election: How Gratitude Shapes our Thinking

Ever four years, a politician promises to create change, improve the lives of citizens, and make our country great…or great again…or keep it great, depending on their perspective. They stir us up to fear for our futures, our children’s futures, and the fate of our country. They steal our peace through creating discontent, disillusionment, and dissatisfaction with our current state of being. But, as Christians, I believe that God requires us to be grateful today regardless of our circumstances. Even when things aren’t in our favor. We can grieve the evil we see all around and work to create order and peace, but we can’t allow it to taint our hearts from gratitude for God’s provision and care. If we can’t be grateful today, chances are we won’t be grateful tomorrow.

Being thankful is a defining marker in the maturity of a believer. Scripture is full of the admonition to give thanks in all things. To honor God with our attitudes, thoughts, motivations, and actions. And to bless and not curse God or others. Gratitude overflows from the abundance of the Christian life when lived under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For all Christ has done for us, redeemed people should never despise the days given by God.

Understanding Our Reality

There are a lot of evil forces at work in our world that are seeking to destroy our faith, our freedom to worship, and our Christian influence in the world. There always will be. When Satan blinds the minds of man to the atrocities of sin, they will fight to protect their ability to live as they please. Christians speaking up on behalf of righteousness upsets the world’s belief system. It is unwelcome. They will fight it. But, have we forgotten that this is not where our home is? Have we forgotten that He has promised that trouble will arise and battles will be fought? Paul, as a prisoner, encourages us to be thankful even in difficult times.

Cultivate Gratitude

I believe many followers of Christ have let cynicism and fear steal their joy and peace in Christ. The negativity has eroded the Church’s ability to live in unity and to foster an atmophere of gratitude among God’s people and in their communities. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning. We can choose to honor Christ’s sacrifice for us and the good gifts He gives today. We can cultivate a heart of gratitude right now before we know how the election will pan out. We can illustrate our belief in a sovereign, all-powerful God by practicing the art of thankfulness. And come what may, how will we respond for the world to see? We have seen in the case of the Israelite’s wandering that God hates bitter, whiny, apathetic people. May we grow to be uniquely grateful in a world of cynical disbelief.

Expressing Gratitude

Before we go to vote, what might it accomplish in our lives to make a list of the things we are grateful for in this country? There will always be things that need changed. In this moment of history, how has God blessed and provided for us in the midst of this country’s woes? Here are a few of mine:

  • I can go to a store within 5 minutes and buy a Bible and other Christian materials. I can order Christian materials online in one minute and have it delivered to my home in days. Do you know how amazing that is in comparison to people who have never even seen a copy of Scripture or have their materials confiscated by government?
  • I have a blog where I can freely post anything about Christ on a daily basis that can reach across the world where I can’t go.
  • Any night of the week, churches across the country are being used to preach the gospel of Christ, care for our communities, and offer worship to God. Even in Covid, the freedom to worship God is available even if it doesn’t look like we are used to. With a mask. Spaced out. Smaller groups. Outside. Inside. Online. America is still a place where we can gather and assemble for worship.
  • We are allowed to vote and be invested in addressing the government with our concerns. As a woman, I know this has not always been the case, and I am grateful for the opportunity. Women in many parts of the world would love to be in my shoes.
  • America is a beautiful, diverse land. God has created a beautiful world and our slice of it has some breathtaking sights.
  • The educational advantage over the rest of the world is vast. Our library systems and access to knowledge is unprecedented.
  • Technology has its downfalls, but God has given us incredible access to share His message with the world. I am grateful to be able to use it in God-honoring ways. Social media is a gift when used for His glory and good of others.
  • Our three branches of government protect against any one power from overriding the concerns of all people.
  • Driving to a grocery store instead of having to farm my own food is a blessing!
  • Unlike other countries, people are not just left on the streets to die. There is much to be thankfuf for in the American healthcare system.
  • Christian radio programs and podcasts fill the airwaves!

Consider This

Gratitude leads to steadfastness. Faithfulness pleases God. (James 1:-4)

Gratitude protects us against bitterness and disillusionment. (Philippians 4:12-13)

Gratitude leads to worship. (Ephesians 5:15-21/Hebrews 13:14-16)

Gratitude leads to good works, love for others, and being in God’s will. (I Thessalonians 5:15-18)

Gratitude builds confidence with God and His unshakable Kingdom. (Hebrews 12:26-29)

Gratitude reminds us of where every blessing, gift, and kindness comes from. God owes us nothing but graces us immensely. (James 1:14-17)

When we live in strife, we will reap strife. If we express constant discontent, why would He give us more? When we curse the blessings of God, we will not abound in every good work. There is so much more at stake for us as believers than who will win the presidency. Whatever comes, what will our hearts believe and our mouths speak? What you cultivate today, will be the harvest you reap tomorrow.

Will you join me in expressing gratitude and praise before AND after the election?

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    Terri, thank you for this great word. I look forward to turning off the news for a while and focusing on gratitude. I know science supports how life-changing gratitude can be.

    It excites me God had been telling His people for thousands of years to be grateful. Social scientists have now “discoved” this truth.

    Have a wonderful day!

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