Benefits of Gratitude

Mental and emotional peace

  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Leviticus 22:29-30 – sacrifice of thanksgiving
  • Psalm 105:1-3 …let the heart of then rejoice that seek the LORD.
  • Enjoyment of life by seeing what you have instead of coveting what you don’t
  • Gratitude focuses on what is, not what isn’t in John 6:5-11
  • Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Moral reinforcement

  • Gratitude is an indication of morality. Published by the American Psychological Association in Gratitude has 3 functions that can be conceptualized as morally relevant: (a) a moral barometer function (i.e., it is a response to the perception that one has been the beneficiary of another person’s moral actions); (b) a moral motive function (i.e., it motivates the grateful person to behave prosocially toward the benefactor and other people); and (c) a moral reinforcer function (i.e., when expressed, it encourages benefactors to behave morally in the future). The personality and social factors that are associated with gratitude are also consistent with a conceptualization of gratitude as an affect that is relevant to people’s cognitions and behaviors in the moral domain. By McCullough, Michael E.,Kilpatrick, Shelley D.,Emmons, Robert A.,Larson, David B. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 127(2), Mar 2001, 249-266
  • Romans 1:20-25 – Moral degradation coupled with high self esteem
  • Psalm 100:4 (Psalm 100) – so the presence of God abandons the ingrate, but welcomes the grateful.

Maintains the right Spirit

  • Sanctifies and defends against seductive spirits
  • 1 Timothy 4:1-5
  • Thankfulness is the open hand that God can fill
  • Ephesians 5:18-21