What does experiencing joy look like for you? For as long as I can remember, gratitude has been a part of my life. Expressing gratitude comes naturally because of my name, Temitope, which means this is enough to thank God.
Our expression of gratitude can be superficial and done out of obligation. Paul models for us gratitude from the heart that does not depend on external circumstances. In many of the New Testament letters, Paul began his letters with phrases such as “We give thanks for you” or “I always thank my God when I pray for you.” Paul was in prison when he wrote these letters to the churches.
In Philippians, Paul expresses his thankfulness to the church in Philippi for their financial support. How could Paul be thankful while he was unjustly imprisoned? His secret was thankfulness and contentment in all situations.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11–13 NLT)
Gratitude acts like WD-40 to release your joy
When we give thanks, we are celebrating and acknowledging God’s goodness and sovereignty over our situation.
Gratitude is like applying WD-40 to a rusty door that will not open.
Thankfulness has a way of giving us perspective and easing our pain as we wait on the Lord.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
When we embrace God’s perspective, gratitude flows from our hearts and influences our attitudes and responses to life’s challenges. We experience the type of joy that Paul expressed in Philippians. We appreciate the people the Lord places in our lives and see His hand in our interactions and relationships.
Do you want to experience joy regardless of your circumstances? Ask God for the grace and strength to be thankful in every situation.
Gratitude is key to experiencing joy in all circumstances.