True Virtue: Recentering on What Matters Most

Day 5 of 6 • This day’s reading



Yesterday, we looked at how instant gratification can affect our perseverance, but it can also affect our gratitude. Think about some of the small things that can so easily irritate us: 

  • Your fast food took longer than you expected. 

  • An app took a few seconds to load. 

  • Netflix shows the dreaded buffering icon when you’re ready to binge a show.

  • Thinking, “There’s nothing to wear!” when you look at a fully stocked closet.

It’s so easy to fixate on what’s going wrong instead of praising God for who He is and what He has done. And similarly, it’s easy for us to view blessings from God as rights we deserve instead of gifts we’ve been given. 

When we forget to be grateful, two dangerous mindsets can result. 

Mindset one says, “I want it now, so I’ll take it now.” 

Mindset two says, “I deserve it, I earned it, that settles it.” 

We see these two mindsets play out in the story of the Prodigal Son. The younger son tells his father that he wants his inheritance right now, so he takes the money, leaves his family, and loses all the money after a series of poor choices. 

After he returns home, his father runs out to meet him, welcomes him back, and throws a huge party for him. 

Enter dangerous mindset number two. 

The older brother had stayed with his father the whole time, so imagine his frustration as this welcome party proceeds. He’s resentful, frustrated, and furious, and he refuses to go to the party because his dad has never thrown him one. 

This kind of attitude is so common. We see someone else get the promotion we want, and instead of celebrating, we start comparing and competing. Instead of thanking God for the job we have, we focus on the one we want. 

So what do we do? How do we avoid these dangerous mindsets and cultivate gratitude instead? 

Make it a habit to thank God for what you have. Thank God for the spouse who unloads the dishwasher differently than you do. Thank God for the boss you dislike, knowing that you have a job and an opportunity to share your faith. Thank God for another day, for fresh mercy, for who He is. 

Here’s the thing: Every blessing we don’t turn into praise turns into pride. And Scripture tells us that pride comes before a fall. 

If you’re ready to find more contentment, more peace, and more joy, maybe it’s time to spend some intentional time cultivating gratitude in your life. You just might experience the truth that gratitude turns what you have into enough. 

Pray: God, You are so good. Thank You for all of the blessings You’ve given me. I specifically thank You for ________. Help me avoid greed, pride, and resentment by cultivating a grateful heart. 

Challenge: Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for, then praise God for them.