We have a source of overflowing joy that we have the opportunity to soak in. Joy should not be based on our circumstances but on the supernatural spring that we can draw from as often as we should. We have been invited to draw from this font, an every present source of spiritual sustenance that will never diminish or leave us with a sense of lack. The Lord is always leaning towards us, we in return must always lean towards Him. In doing so, we will never find ourselves lagging behind or limping forwards. We will find ourselves becoming increasingly sensitive to His presence within us. Gratitude gives us the opportunity to be thankful for all that we have in Him, knowing that what we have in Him as our Alpha and Omega, is enough. Gratitude gives way to peace, joy, hope, the development of faith and weakens the influence of the enemy. So how do we ensure a spirit of gratitude maintains precedence in our lives as opposed to a lack thereof? Initially, it’s understanding from a theological perspective, that a spirit of thanks must be expressed across all things, and yes, that includes the times where gratitude is not the first emotion that aquaints itself with our mindset. When Paul was writing to the church of Thessalonica, he stated that God must be thanked in everything. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16- 18. NIV To be thankful is to do the opposite of complaining. If complaining was to become a rhetoric that found commonplace in our thought processes, we would find a reason to complain about everything we encountered, including the things that can be considered good, in the hope they would become better. Erring on the side of complaint as opposed to contentment would leave us in a permanent state of misery or with a desire to always find fault. We would develop a natural inclination and propensity to gravitate towards the side of negativity. How do we undo the pattern that has the potential to keep us locked within a perpetual cycle where the last thing we seek to find and express is gratitude? We must first recognise that to seek, find and maintain a continual pursuit of giving thanks is to accept the fact that such acts require a concentrated effort, in other words, practice. Not just any practice, but as close to perfect practice as we can possibly manage. In addition, we don’t necessarily have to demonstrate gratitude for the big, bold, obvious, miraculous things but the subtle components that operate on a much smaller scale. My Pastor makes a conscientious effort of recording at least three things that he’s grateful for at the end of each day - he’s attempting to find the good and commit himself to recording the good to ensure he does not forget. He’s ending the day with intentionality. He’s also participating in something that, according to research carried out at Kent State University, he’s creating an emotional setting where you’re able to improve your state of happiness which subsequently has a direct impact on the overall emotional health and wellbeing of the participant. When creating a physical record, you’re doing as shepherds of old, once did, who would mark their staff with things that they were grateful for. In this way during times of peril, where they may find themselves questioning where their help was to come from, they would just look at their staff. Their staff which would serve as a permanent record and reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Gratitude is not an act that miraculously presents itself with the rising and setting of the sun. Moreover, gratitude is something that takes time, cultivation and intentional efforts at all times, including the times where we have to make a concentrated effort to select something that we can demonstrate some form of thanks towards. As the wise words of Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher who was born into slavery tell us, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for the things which he has.” Let us make a concentrated effort to draw from the spring of life, to find comfort and contentment in His presence and provision and to delight in the present moment. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:4-7