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Gratitude Makes Us Spiritually Strong

Gratitude Makes Us Spiritually Strong

by Elder José A. Teixeira, Portugal
Europe Area President

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Europe Area President

We have been commanded to “Thank the Lord thy God in all things. And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is His wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things.”[1]

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Ingratitude is one of the greatest of sins; gratitude is therefore one of the greatest of virtues.

The importance of gratitude and its impact on individuals is illustrated in the lives of Laman and Lemuel. Their response to the Lord’s commandment to leave Jerusalem caused thousands of people to suffer untold misery for over 1000 years. Lehi and Nephi were continually praising God and thanking Him for bringing them out of Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel failed to appreciate what the Lord had done for them. Instead of thanking the Lord, they complained. As a result, Lehi and Nephi grew closer to the Lord, Laman and Lemuel pulled away from the Lord. In this we see a great key to becoming spiritually strong – Gratitude.

We also see that in order to be grateful for something we must recognize its significance and appreciate it.

As a young father, President Henry B. Eyring began reviewing each day’s events to see the hand of God touching his family. He said, “As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us...As that happened, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done. More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance...My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness. It will build our testimonies.'[2]

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God's kindness. It will build our testimonies

Gratitude builds our testimony.  The very act of expressing gratitude recognizes God’s hand in our lives and acknowledges His tender mercies to us.  This, in turn, increases our confidence that the Lord will hear and answer our prayers and guide our lives. In recognizing our dependence upon the Lord, we become more dependent on Him.

As our gratitude for the Lord’s blessings increases, our desire to come unto Him increases, and we will reach out to Him in all we do. “…let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all they thoughts be directed unto the Lord; let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings…and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.”[3]

full of thanks unto God.”[3]

As we see life through the lens of gratitude we will look unto the Lord in every thought; we will not doubt, we will not fear.[4]   

The greatest of human tragedies is blindness to the Lord’s bounteous blessings, whether it be his gentle commands or His tender mercies.  In not appreciating the great things He has done for us we will not use them. Foolishness is being given a gift but not accepting it. We show our gratitude by using the things we have been given. Chief among these gifts is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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Laman and Lemuel never saw going to the Promised Land as a blessing and opportunity for a new life.  With their ingratitude, they trampled the blessings God under their feet.

Gratitude enables us to see the hand of God guiding our lives; it strengthens our will to keep His commandments. We align our will to our Father’s will. It is a small thing to recognize the hand of the Lord in all the blessings we receive.  The reward is knowing that God is with us, guiding us through life’s challenges.  Our faith is increased and our confidence in God is strengthened.

Gratitude is the seed that in loving soil flourishes.

Gratitude… engenders respect, forgiveness, healing

Gratitude… generates uncalculated generosity 

Gratitude…. celebrates the tender mercies of God

Gratitude … enlivens personal revelation

Gratitude … prompts prayer and emboldens praying knees

Gratitude … prospers life

Gratitude … renders repentance, wisdom, course correction

Gratitude … enlarges hearts

Gratitude…. cherishes covenants                              

Christ himself, on his knees, gave thanks unto His Father in Heaven.

May we cultivate this divine quality in our families.

 


[1] D&C 59:7, 21

[2] President Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” Ensign, Nov. 2007

[3] Alma 37:36-37

[4] D&C 6:36