Jackie Marie Carr

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How to Have a Thankful Spirit

This month my topic for daily devotionals over on Instagram has been How to Have a Thankful Spirit.

One thing I’ve learned is that thankfulness is a key ingredient in my walk with the Lord. It’s also key in fighting depression, anxiety, a complaining spirit, negativity, and even poor health.

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

Charles Spurgeon

Many times we don’t stop and think about all the things we have, what we’ve already been blessed with, and all the things we’ve already seen God do.

When the Lord gave us a model prayer as an example of how we should pray, what did the first words begin with? Jesus posturing an attitude of thankfulness for Who God is, “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9) He was bringing praise to God’s name. I believe praise and thanks are synonymous. A person who seeks to bring God praise in life is a thankful person. It’s hard to be complaining and griping while praising and giving God thanks.

We can bring God thanks because He has given us everything. Thankfulness renews our mind and changes our heart. Philippians 4 is a famous passage for this very topic. What does it say? “Rejoice in the Lord alway…”

Okay, let’s stop there for a minute. Of course we are going to run out of rejoicing and lose the JOY of our salvation and our thankful spirit if we aren’t understanding what this verse is teaching. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway…” I’m not to rejoice simply because life may have been easy and gone my way today (or not). I’m to rejoice in the Lord today.

One way we can learn how to have a thankful spirit and rejoice in the Lord practically is by following the next few verses.

The next verse says, “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Learning to live in moderation is living in the bigger picture mentality. We know the Lord is returning soon so we should live forbearingly, patiently, and meekly, not being swayed by extremes. The verses above say, “Whose end is destruction whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:” It’s not saying feeding your belly is bad, because you have to in order to live. It’s not saying we can’t think about earthly things, but it shouldn’t become our god. So, if we are going to live in a thankful spirit, we must rejoice, living in moderation.

Nothing in this world brings happiness that’s eternal. This world doesn’t satisfy.

Jackie marie carr

Next, the Bible literally gives us permission to not stress about anything.

Actually, it’s a command! God is giving us a command to not worry about anything, just as much as it’s a command to do or not do anything else. When we cast our burden before the Lord, we can get up with a thankful spirit. This is the way I think many times. But. Wait a minute.

In reality, the more we practice thankfulness, the more our cares seem to fall away. Verse 6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. AND THE PEACE of God…” These are some of my favorite words.

Practicing thankfulness in prayer to God actually brings a peaceful life.

Do you live a stressed life, full of drama? It doesn’t have to be (seriously, even in terrible circumstances). Psalm 100 gives us a great recipe for living in thankfulness.

Verse 1 says to make a joyful noise to him. Yes, we can bring our tears, our cares, concerns, and burdens. And even David said he poured out his complaint before him. But in order to have a thankful spirit, experiencing that sweet joy in the presence of the Lord, sometimes we have to practice obedience to being joyful before we feel it.

Next, serve Him with gladness. Or is it drudgery to serve Him or our family? We serve Him by living in joy in our daily, God-given roles. Whether washing the dishes, tending to sick children, and millions of other ways we can serve the Lord, but with gladness.

Come before Him with singing. Do you ever start your devotions with worship? I promise it will help you be thankful when you realize what a wonderful, merciful Savior we serve.

Know that He is God. He is sovereign, no matter what comes your way.

Finally, the most famous Thanksgiving verse. We are to enter into His presence with thanksgiving. Do you know why being thankful is hard? Because it takes “giving.” Giving thanks or thanksgiving is work. I love these next quotes!

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.”

tim Keller

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.”

Andrew Murray

This thought is so convicting, and is something I am constantly working on!


Jackie Marie Carr

Please make sure to visit my shop here and check out the entire “Thankful” Jewelry Collection!

Read more short-form daily devotionals from Jackie Marie Carr Instagram here.