Rust-colored leaves scatter from the trees, layering the ground with hues of orange, yellow and brown. The crisp, autumn breeze mingles with the aroma of a crackling fireplace. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, college football and crockpot recipes are all reminders that fall is in the air.
This is the time I often reflect on the condition of my heart in regard to thankfulness. I’m convinced the extent of my gratitude is evidenced by the words I speak. And the truth is, I’ve been catching myself voicing complaints before thanks.
I Thessalonians says it’s God’s will for us to:
Rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances. (5:16 NIV)
Always rejoicing, continually praying and being thankful in all circumstances doesn’t come naturally to us, does it? So how do we do this?
I believe the answer is found in the verse itself.
Rejoicing, prayer and thanksgiving all work together to fuel each other much like the three necessary components of a fire. A flame ignites when fuel, oxygen and heat join together in a chemical reaction. Fire will burn until one or more of the components are removed.
On a recent women’s retreat, they announced Victory Circle would be cut short because they couldn’t get the campfire going. That is, until my friend, a former firefighter, came to our rescue. She took a large piece of cardboard and began to strategically fan the fire all around until the flames were so high we had to step back.
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to remind Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.” He wanted his friend to persevere and use his gifts to boldly share the gospel.
Sometimes I need to do just that with my heart. I need to rekindle the embers of joy, prayer and gratitude that have been snuffed out by stress and trials in life. I need to remember where my hope comes from.
No matter what difficult experience we encounter, there’s always joy to be found in our salvation. Click To Tweet We have the hope of eternal life by believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His presence is available to us at all times! When we rejoice in our relationship with the Lord, we fuel the flames of gratitude.
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
We can maintain a prayerful attitude throughout the day by turning our worries into prayers and remembering His majesty and power. Prayer rekindles the flames of joy.
Being thankful for the blessings in my life helps me foster an attitude of gratitude. However, this verse doesn’t say to be thankful for all things but in all things. When hard times come we can be thankful in sorrow because God is with us. He uses our trials to make us mature and complete.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything. (James 1:2 NIV)
Another interesting fact about fire is that it spreads when heat energy is passed by direct contact from one object to another. This process is called conduction.
Do you know anyone who exudes a loving spirit of joy and positivity? Our attitudes are contagious. We can choose to spread the flames of criticism, griping and complaining or kindness, encouragement, and thankfulness.
This season, I want to cultivate an attitude that spreads God’s love to others.
Embracing God’s everlasting love and abiding in Him ignites the joy of our salvation and refuels the embers of faith.
The next time you find yourself complaining, remember you can fan the flame of thankfulness by rejoicing in your salvation, spending time in prayer and thanking God for His everlasting love.