Thankfulness is a skill we can develop with practice. It’s just a matter of pausing and noticing the abundance with which God has filled our lives. We can choose to view life through the lens of deprivation (noticing everything we don’t have and worrying that there is never enough for us) or through the lens of abundance (noticing everything we do have and trusting that a good God will provide for us). Which will we choose? In this session, we’ll see what a difference it can make when we choose to view life through the lens of God’s abundance.
- What is one thing for which you’re thankful to God?
- How challenging would it be for you to come up with ten things for which you’re thankful? Why do you think it’s easy or hard for you?
“Bring Me the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Take nothing for granted, not even the rising of the sun. Before Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, thankfulness was as natural as breathing. Satan’s temptation involved pointing Eve to the one thing that was forbidden her. The garden was filled with luscious, desirable fruits, but Eve focused on the one fruit she couldn’t have rather than being thankful for the many good things freely available. is negative focus darkened her mind, and she succumbed to temptation.
“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. You take for granted life, salvation, sunshine, flowers, and countless other gifts from Me. You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is ‘fixed.’ When you approach Me with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through. Walk in the Light with Me by practicing the discipline of thanksgiving.”
—From Jesus Calling, April 6
- What was Eve’s mistake when it came to being thankful?
- What’s wrong with focusing on what you don’t have?
“Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything — all your possessions and all that you are — belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.
“Some of My most precious children have been laid aside in sick- beds or shut away in prisons. Others have voluntarily learned the discipline of spending time alone with Me. e secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.”
—From Jesus Calling, April 29
- How does it foster thankfulness when you acknowledge that all you have and all you are belong to God?
- Name one of the things you currently rely on to nurture your body or your soul. What do you think is God’s perspective on this?
Read aloud the following passage from Genesis 2:8–9, Genesis 2:15–17, and Genesis 3:1–8. The woman in the story is Eve, the man is Adam, and the serpent is Satan.
- What did Satan promise would happen if Eve ate the forbidden fruit? What actually happened when she and Adam ate it? Explain.
- How would thankfulness have changed Eve’s thought process when she “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye” (Genesis 3:6)?
- What are the things in your life—the things you want but don’t have, or that you don’t want but do have—that threaten to deprive you of thankfulness? What would a “thankful thought process” look like in your current situation?
- Take two minutes of silence to reread the passage, looking for a sentence, phrase, or even one word that stands out as something Jesus may want you to focus on in your life. If you’re meeting with a group, the leader will keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share your word or phrase with the group if you wish.
- Read the passage aloud again. Take another two minutes of silence, prayerfully considering what response God might want you to make to what you have read in His Word. If you’re meeting with a group, the leader will again keep track of time. At the end of two minutes, you may share what came to you in the silence if you wish.
- What was it like for you to sit in silence with the passage? Did soaking it in like this help you understand it better than before?
- If you’re meeting with a group, how can the members pray for you? If you’re using this study on your own, what would you like to say to God right now?
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Giving thanks is something we believers should practice, practice, practice! And with practice we can become excellent at praising God for His abundance!