(A 5 Minute Read)
Thankfulness is perfectly designed.
The Word tells us time and again to offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving; to be thankful and grateful. At face value, this may seem like one of those good ideas that God would want us to do for Him for His pleasure. Yet as we really look deeper into His ways, His commandments and precepts, we find that they are specifically designed for our benefit and wellbeing. It hasn’t been until recently that science has been able to actually observe the neurological, physical and emotional benefits of gratitude.
Thankfulness can benefit our health.
It turns out that thanksgiving and gratitude can actually be a useful key to assist a person in their walkout. Studies have shown that when people daily practiced gratitude they experienced improvements in their mental health, including a noted reduction of depression, PTSD and fatigue symptoms.¹ There were also improvements in the subject’s sleep, overall health and sense of wellbeing. It even improved self-confidence in their own abilities to accomplish and complete tasks. Another interesting link was to improved cardiac function and reduced levels of inflammatory biomarkers in patients experiencing heart failure.² The final benefit that is noteworthy is an improved relatability and empathy for others resulting in healthier relationships as they expressed gratitude towards others.
But there is a catch!
If we take this concept at face value and run with it, we may conclude that thankfulness could be a solution to these issues. But these studies showed that it is only a contributing factor to the improvements. These people had to also practice reducing the negative expressions of thought and communication like fear, jealousy, and resentment.³ This is where what we know and teach at Be in Health® bridges the gap between our faith and these scientific observations.
The Word tells us to renew our mind and to cast down imaginations and any thought that is contrary to God’s ways.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2 KJV
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 10:5-6 KJV
How we recognize these thought patterns.
The challenge comes when certain patterns of thought are so familiar to us that we don’t know the difference. We don’t even recognize them as negative programming from the enemy’s kingdom. For example, a person who has struggled with anxiety for most of their lives may not even recognize the thought patterns that they are continually ruminating on that keep them in that state. As a result, they may have never experienced the restful state of their body and mind being at peace or homeostasis in the absence of those stress hormones. (Fear, Stress, and Physiology)
This is why it is so important to first be well acquainted with God and His ways through reading His Word and personal relationship with Him. It’s only by His Spirit that these old ways can be held up against the light of His truth, sifted out and exposed in our hearts.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Hebrews 4:11-13 KJV
Steps to recovery.
As we repent for these old, familiar ways, remove the works of the enemy in our lives, and practice casting down the programmed patterns of thought, gratitude is the next step to recovery. It goes hand in hand with our 7th R to Freedom which is to rejoice (8 Rs to Freedom). These final steps to freedom are often overlooked yet absolutely essential in the completion of our victory and subsequent freedom.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 KJV
The long term effects…
These researchers discovered that people who daily participated in an activity of gratefulness for a period of twelve weeks actually experienced a rewiring of certain thought pathways and lasting benefits for months beyond that period of time4. So when we practice thankfulness we are actually reprogramming our pathways of thought from the negativity of the enemy’s kingdom to the positive influence of God’s Kingdom. This is the key to real and lasting healing and freedom.
We can see in the Word how King David recognized the manifold benefits of following God’s ways in the Psalms.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 KJV
Getting it from our head to our heart.
As we dig deeper and develop our own understanding of the benefits and perfectness of God’s ways, may we truly grasp it in our hearts and recognize His incredible love for us. Even though mankind has fallen in sin, He made a way of escape through Jesus Christ and the gift of His Holy Spirit so that we could experience the wholeness of life and health that He has designed for us.
The Be in Health ® Team