Thanksgiving is a great reminder that we should be thankful to God and live our lives full of gratitude for all that God has done for us. It can be easy however to allow things to hinder our thankfulness. Here are 8 thing that can hinder our thankfulness.
The first thing that will not only hinder us but keep us from being thankful is if your not a Christian. The believer is commanded to be thankful in all circumstances and that can only be accomplished as we rest in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ingratitude is a characteristic of an unbeliever.
Doubts about God will hinder our thankfulness. If you doubt God’s power, or if you not sure He knows what He’s doing, you have doubts about whether He really loves and cares for you, if your not sure He has your best interests at heart, then your not going to be thankful. We can’t live in thankfulness to a God we don’t trust. Our faith and trust in God must be secure.
The third thing that can hinder us is selfishness. It’s that attitude that says, “No matter what I’ve got I don’t have what I really want, I don’t have enough. I just…I want more…my will is more important than God’s will. I don’t know what God has for me, but I know what I want from me and God ought to deliver.” Boy, that will really destroy gratitude. “I want my circumstances different. I want my children different. I want my life different. I want my ministry different. I want my spouse different. I want my job different. I want a lot of things different. I want more of this and less of that.” If that’s what drives you and you’ve set your own agenda, then you’re going to have trouble. On the other hand, if you say I only want what God wants and I’ll believe that God will give me what He wants me to have, then you can be thankful
The fourth thing that hinders gratitude is worldliness. If you’re into the pleasures and the people and the places and the possessions and the pursuits and the popularity and the prestige, and you just want all the stuff that the world says makes people satisfied and happy, you’re going to have trouble being thankful cause you’re never going to have all of that and when you get some of it you won’t have enough of it. We can be content and thankful because we have all we need in Christ. We are complete in Him. Christ is what satisfies us and makes us happy, not the pursuit of the things of this world.
A fifth thing is a critical spirit. If you’re bitter or negative, if you just kind of have a sour attitude on life…and you know how you get that? You get that by having unrealistic expectations of what you deserve. Secondly you get that because you think you ought to control everything and there’s some things you can’t control and that bothers you.
A sixth hindrance to gratitude is impatience.
God isn’t moving fast enough. It’s not so much that they want this or that, it’s that they want it now. They’ve got their own timetable. And the perception is that God’s not on their schedule, they’ve got it in their appointment book and He’s not keeping the appointments. They want God to work for them when they want Him to work…impatience. You need to learn to just be patient. Let God unfold His purposes in His time and be thankful that He knows better the timing than you do.
A Seventh hindrance is coldness.
And by that what I mean is spiritual lukewarmness, lack of zeal for God, lack of diligence in the Scripture, lack of passion in prayer, lack of interest in worship, neglect of the Bible, wasting your time on trivia, spiritual lethargy, spiritual indifference…that produces a coldness and a lukewarmness that just kills gratitude. When you spend your time in the Word and you spend your time in prayer, and you spend your time in worship, and you spend your time in service to the King and the Kingdom, it excites gratitude.
Lastly…rebellion. And this is the strongest…the strongest attitude, I think, that mitigates against gratitude, and this is when you’re in a settled state of outright anger toward God because things didn’t go the way you wanted them and it’s become a settled state of rebellion. You are angry with God, and your anger blinds any opportunities to be thankful to Him.
1 Thess 5:16 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.