Peace through gratitude
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7
I used to think that this verse was saying to give thanks for everything, and I was so uncomfortable with that thought. Why would I give thanks for some of the things that happened that were unfair or that hurt?
Thankfully, that’s not what this verse is telling us to do, but at times it is almost as difficult. We are to live in a state of thanksgiving, living out gratitude to the One who provides for us. Thanksgiving is a practice we use to focus on what God has done for us and to thank Him for it. Gratitude is a characteristic we develop the more we practice thanksgiving. It is us living in a state of readiness to show thanksgiving or appreciation and to return the kindness given.
Jesus wants us to find the peace He so often talks about, the peace only He can give (John 14:27). Today’s verses give us a way to attain such peace. We are to come to Jesus in prayer, offering up our requests, but also offering up our gratitude. Just as it is difficult to be upset when you are smiling, it is hard to be without peace when you are surrendered to God and made aware of His constant presence in gratitude.