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Exercising Gratitude

“He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.”1

As I have gotten older, I have become more aware and proactive with my health. I am very conscious of what goes into my body and try to choose the best options out there when it comes to food and personal care products. I also exercise and include a variety of routines to strengthen different muscles in my body. This not only benefits my physical health but my emotional and cognitive health as well.

Just like the muscles in our body need to be exercised, gratitude is also a “muscle” that we should be strengthening daily. Gratitude is not automatically programmed in us at the time of birth, rather we grow this muscle over time with practice and experience. Regardless of our upbringing or who we are, gratitude is something we must intentionally choose. Some might think that people that have more or have higher social status would be more grateful, but that is not always the case. In the story of the Ten Lepers in Luke 17, we see 10 men with leprosy crying out for mercy. Jesus has compassion on them and heals them all, but only ONE came back to thank him! I find it interesting that verse 16 points out that it was a Samaritan who came to thank Jesus, because in those days Samaritans were looked down on by the Jews and considered to be inferior. Yet, this Samaritan demonstrated a level of gratitude that none of the other lepers showed.

Gratitude is a condition of the heart. Just like we are proactive when it comes to choosing healthy foods to put in our bodies, we should also be cautious of what we allow in our minds and hearts. If we are allowing things like negativity, pride, bitterness, and anger to take place in our hearts, it will be much harder for gratitude to prevail. However, if we constantly fill our minds and hearts with humility, generosity, compassion, mercy, and love, gratitude will flourish!  

I encourage you to take a moment today to start flexing those gratitude muscles! Look around and choose at least one thing that you can thank God for. Once you start looking for things to be thankful, it will be hard to stop with just one thing!

Suggested prayer: Dear God, you have done so much for me. Help me never to take it for granted, but rather let me be like the Samaritan whose gratitude was too much to contain as he fell at your feet. Please keep all pride, selfishness, and other negative thoughts from taking place in my heart. Fill me with your love, compassion, and generosity, and may I cultivate a heart of gratitude every day. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. Luke 17:16 (NLT).

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.