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Being Thankful

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How many times, when complimenting someone on their lovely home, congratulating them on their new job, or commenting on how well they look, have you heard the reply, “I am blessed”?

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While it’s important to recognize the material gifts that God has provided for us, I think we’ve misinterpreted the meaning of blessing.

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A blessing, in the biblical sense, has more spiritual implications than physical. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).

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Indeed, when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, His list of those who receive God’s favor is counterintuitive to those we often call “blessed” today:

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Blessed are the poor in spirit…

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Blessed are those who mourn…

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Blessed are the meek…

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…

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Blessed are the merciful…

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Blessed are the pure in heart…

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Blessed are the peacemakers…

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Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…

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Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and lie about you (Matt. 5:3-11).

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When I think about blessings in this way, it reminds me that even if I don’t get that new job, I’m still blessed. Even if we’re struggling financially, I’m still blessed. Even in the midst of a health crisis, I’m still blessed.

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And that reorients my thinking around thankfulness, as well.

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A friend of mine, when receiving compliments, often replies, “I am grateful.” I love her attitude. She recognizes God’s abundant gifts in her life but also realizes that those are not the things that make us “blessed.”

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I am thankful for God’s provision for my physical needs and material possessions, but I’m also grateful for His spiritual blessings, His unmerited favor and His presence in my life. While the size of my bank account may vary, my job is only temporary and my health could be taken away at any moment, God has promised never to “leave me or forsake me” (Josh. 1:5), and for that I am truly grateful.

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Being thankful is a daily choice. Being grateful for God’s spiritual blessings is the first step. “From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another” (John 1:16, NLT). Just Between Us (JBU) wants to help you choose gratitude. We’ve listed some articles here to help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude!

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