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The Power of Gratitude


Christian talk radio with Rob West

November 3, 2022

The Bible has plenty to say about the benefits of gratitude, and researchers have even collected data on them. Studies are showing the very positive influence that gratitude has on the lives of individuals. We’ll talk about it today on MoneyWise. God’s Word has many passages to inspire a thankful heart, but one in particular that details the benefits of gratitude is found in Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7. It reads, 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. If you’ve wondered how the peace of God translates into physical and emotional well-being, you’re not alone. Researchers at the University of California campuses at Davis and Berkeley wanted to find out too. THE POWER OF THANKFULNESS They gave groups of people gratitude journals to document the things they were thankful for and to report their experience. The researchers broke down the positive responses into three separate categories: physical, psychological, and social. Starting with the physical benefits: Individuals reported having stronger immune systems, possibly noting that they got sick less often. They also said they had fewer aches and pains, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and an increased desire to exercise and take better care of their health, all that just by fostering an attitude of gratitude. The positive psychological effects of gratitude included higher levels of positive emotions in general. Respondents also said they were more alert, alive, and awake. They felt more joy and pleasure, more optimism and happiness. Now, a lot of Christians keep prayer journals in which they express their gratitude to God for what He provides. It’s a way to count your blessings and a verse that comes to mind is Colossians 4: 2, Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. When we keep track of all the ways the Lord provides for us, it’s impossible to not be grateful. So it seems that keeping a prayer or gratitude journal is a great way to foster an attitude of thanksgiving. Okay, the last category the researchers looked at wassocial. How does gratitude improve our relationships with family, friends, and others? Individuals said they became more helpful, generous, and compassionate. They felt more forgiving and more outgoing and less lonely and isolated. For all of those reasons, the researchers suggested that everyone should keep gratitude journals to enhance these effects, essentially writing down every day the things we’re grateful for. Of course, the researchers had to come up with an explanation for why all these benefits flow from a spirit of gratitude. And here things really get interesting. First, they determined that true gratitude is proof that, despite all of its problems, there is still goodness in the world. Second, and this is where it gets a little tricky for them they admitted that a source of goodness must exist outside of ourselves. It’s not something we did, and that true gratitude acknowledges we’re dependent on something or someone else. They even admitted this could be a higher power, if one is spiritually inclined. Now, doesn’t that sound like a definition of God to you? Little wonder then that the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 11: 36, For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. You may be thinking, Why would folks who may not know the lord experience the blessings of gratitude? We know that God’s financial principles work for believers and nonbelievers alike. Staying on a budget, living on less than you earn, saving for the future, all lead to financial well-being. So there’s no reason why practicing gratitude wouldn’t be beneficial to everyone as well. And who knows? The Holy Spirit might use the experience to lead someone to Christ. We can even become a part of that by witnessing our gratitude to the God Who provides all things. 1 Chronicles 16: 8 reads, Give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! And Matthew 5: 16 tells us, Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● Should you stop paying into an (unmatched) Roth IRA to pay off credit cards more quickly? ● Can you name a beneficiary of an I-Bond? ● How can you determine whether your heirs are financially ready and mature enough to handle an inheritance? ● Does it make sense to pay cash for a car outright? ● What can you do about an overdue tax refund? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Christian Credit Counselors ● MoneyWise App

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