#LiveYourFaith Blog – Attitude of Gratitude
Attitude of Gratitude
Galatians 5:16, 22-26 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Now that’s a challenge!
The day after Christmas I was in my yoga class, which I have participated in for the past three years. The teacher was describing a syndicated The Simpsons episode depicting Lisa, the precocious yet sensible middle child, struggling with the commercialism of Christmas. Feeling the root of her faith was no longer evident in the Christian church, she found her way into a Buddhist temple alongside Richard Gere (that doesn’t sound so bad…), who explains to her the Buddhist virtues. Marge, Lisa’s mom, attempts to bribe her back to Christianity by way of a pony and other commercialized gifts. My yoga instructor went on to say that the Buddhist principles of mindfulness and peacefulness are so wonderful, and that yoga is a way for us to practice these principles. She further encouraged us to be people who bring peace to others by interacting with kindness and love.
It was at this time, laying in corpse pose, that the verses of Galatians came to mind. “Buddhist principles?” I thought. “No, these are CHRISTIAN principles!” For the next number of days, I thought a lot about this paradox. Are Christians even known for being peaceful, kind, loving and good? Have our religious holidays become so commercialized that we actually have lost the meaning for the seasons?
Let’s get back basic, then. Did you know that when you express and feel gratefulness toward something or someone that your body cannot experience any other feelings or emotions? For this reason, practicing gratefulness is a common treatment for people managing depression and chronic pain. As I’ve grown in my yoga practice over the years, I’ve also matured in my attitude of gratitude. When things break down around my house, I try to focus on how fortunate I am to have these appliances in the first place. When a super heavy snow falls and I’m outside at 5am shoveling before work, I’m grateful that I have the physical ability to shovel, and that I have a job to go to! These small changes in my attitude have absolutely transformed my experiences from something I may dread or complain about to something for which I am grateful.
As Paul writes in his letter known as the Book of Galatians, “Christians have freedom from the law and power of sin, and freedom to serve our living Lord. We do not do good deeds because those deeds get us to heaven; rather we do good deeds in honor of the grace and salvation promised to all believers. The fruit of the Spirit is clear; we are to act in this way at all times, in all situations.” While I would hope that we are all grateful (quite literally eternally grateful) for God’s sacrifice of His only Son, for Jesus’ life, death and resurrection (Easter…), and for the Holy Spirit’s grace and faith, how are you showing it here on earth?
Commit this Lenten season with an Attitude of Gratitude! Write down some ways that you can show gratitude for your Christian faith, and demonstrate this faith and gratefulness in your everyday life.